The storms of life will test whether or not you’ve done a good job with your family. And an important key to succeeding at home is communication. So, ask yourself these four questions:
(1) How well do I communicate with the people I love? You may unwittingly have adopted a style that doesn’t work well for you. For example: do you retaliate? That has a degrading effect. Do you dominate? That has an intimidating effect. Do you isolate? That has a frustrating effect. Or do you co-operate? That has an encouraging effect. If you’re in the habit of using any communication style other than a co-operative one, you must work to change it if you want to build a good relationship with your family.
(2) Have I identified my communication killers? The internet, mobile phones, texting and TV are among the chief culprits. Would it surprise you to know the average couple spends less than an hour a week in meaningful conversation, and approximately five hours a day watching television?
(3) Do I encourage everyone to speak their mind? And when they do speak freely do you criticise, pout, or retaliate? Differences of opinion can be healthy. The Bible says, ‘Iron sharpens iron.’ (Proverbs 27:17 NKJV) Handled respectfully, different opinions can make things better for everyone.
(4) Do I think creatively? Do you spend time together as a family? Do you call your spouse during the day and try to meet sometimes for lunch? Do you drive your kids to school or extracurricular activities so you can talk to them? Communication can happen anywhere, but it only happens when you make it a priority.