Today’s Family Question Is…
Janet Jackson asked “What Have You Done For Me Lately?” (1986 version). In this song, she wondered out loud about why her lover was not honoring her the way he used to honor her. Did you ever ask that question of your family? Everyone in the family gets caught up in their individual activities and runs from one thing to the next. Children run to sports, music, school, church, friends…. Parents run to work, home, church, transporting kids, maintaining the house…. Everyone is doing their own thing and the family winds up in what William Doherty calls the Entropic Family. Chores are left undone and Mom ends up doing them. Requests are ignored as people run out the door to do their own thing or forgotten as I get caught up in what’s important to me. Someone else has to do what another person forgets. In the midst of this busy-ness, family members feel taken advantage of. Parents begin to feel as though they are running a “bed and breakfast” with chauffer services. Children begin to think they are the family slave. Emotional distance grows, frustrations multiply, and anger swells like a tsunami. People start spouting off with Janet Jackson, “What Have You Done For Me Lately?”
Stop. Bring the family together. We need to reframe the question. Let each person ask themselves, “What Have I Done to Honor My Family Today?” What have I done to show my parents how much I love them and appreciate all they do for me? What have I done to show my children how much I love them and admire their character and growth? If you are not sure what you can do to honor your family, try these ideas:
· When you finish your drink, wash your cup or put it in the dishwasher.
· Keep your family informed of your schedule.
· Make time to complete simple chores around the house.
· Enjoy time with your family, even if it means sacrificing one of your activities.
· Say thank you and show appreciation with a hug.
· Ask instead of demand or tell.
· In general, think about your family members. What can you do around the house to make them happier today? Do that. What would bring a smile to their face? Do it. What will make them feel loved? Get it done.