Don’t just float…put down some anchors.
Wednesday night is our family’s favorite night of the week. Before I tell you why let me share how that came to be.
A lot of us float through life. Float through our career. Our marriage. Our parenting. We may be physically present but mentally we are just hovering. Meeting to meeting during the work week and kid activity to kid activity on the weekend.
This may come to light when people ask, ‘what was the best part of the last year?’ and you were left to say, “Ugh, nothing really stands out.” Or you mention the vacation or the promotion. We either have nothing to say or we mention a one-time event.
If this is your situation now, then you need to stop floating and throw down some anchors! Those that we lead at work or home need it. We need to be influencing and making a lasting impact to those we lead. Instead of creating a highlight reel experience a vacation brings a family or sales event brings a team, put in predictable patterns that build a foundation.
Be Proactive At Home
Now back to how Wednesday night became our favorite night of the week.
Every weeknight at our house consists of kid sports practices, I may have a work meeting, or my wife and/or I may have a social engagement. We were floating through the week as a family and waiting to catch up with each other on the weekend – if we weren’t too tired from the busy week! It was time for us to throw down an anchor! Since we did not have any kid activities on Wednesday night, we chose that night to be our family night.
We didn’t want this to be just a pizza and movie family night, but we wanted to add some flair by empowering the kids, teaching life skills, and giving them ownership of the evening. We decided each one of us, including me, will take a turn and cook with my wife. Whether it is me, who gets stressed out in the kitchen, or our 5-year old boy who needs a stool to reach the counter, we went for it and have not looked back!
We have had great meals and great times, plus learned a few things along the way. Here are a few of the lessons we have learned from this adventure:
Expectant instead of expectations – Every Wednesday our family has an expectant heart that the night is going to be fun, we will be fed and be with each other. That’s it. No expectations that the meal will be incredible (which luckily they have been due to this amazing cookbook, ‘From Freezer to Table!’) or done at a certain time.
Leadership – Whoever is cooking that night, has to plan the meal and prepare it. Seeing our kids lead by selecting the menu, working in the kitchen, and informing the family of the meal has been incredible. Kids have limited leadership opportunities in the home, so this is a great excuse for them to stretch those leadership muscles.
Grace – This trophy goes to my wife but we have all grown in this area. My wife is an incredible cook and can move around the kitchen pretty fast. However, these nights, she slows down to help her co-chef by measuring ingredients and cutting vegetables. This was exemplified when my 9-year old daughter made sushi and rolling sushi is a difficult task anyway!
Empowerment – The evening before my 5-year old son was to cook, I asked the kids for prayer requests. My son said, “he wanted to be safe tomorrow and not get hurt.” Shocked and curious about what was going on, I asked: “what do you need to be safe at buddy?” He said, ‘Grilling!’. What???? My son took the idea of helping with dinner to the next level thinking he would be grilling the hamburgers! I loved his eagerness and ownership. So, I took him up on it and had him help flip the burgers…and to see his chest puff up was well worth it.
Valued – My kids know they are valued because they have heard us turn down invites for our family night. Our kids feel secure and know they come before other people and activities on Wednesday nights. Kids knowing they are loved and valued at home will help them navigate stresses and pressures outside the home.
Whether you choose a meal or some other rhythm – just pick something so you can put down an anchor in your family’s life.
Please share with me at firstname.lastname@example.org the changes you are looking to implement as we all look for better ways to lead those we love.
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