With the widespread success and use of the home computer, people are simply a mouse click away. The innovation of email and digital photographs has made it possible for families to stay in touch; however, is this really enough? While technology has enabled us to talk to people all over the world, in some ways it is hampering us from intimate contact, especially with our families.
Keeping your family close must start when you children are very young. If you instill in them at an early age the importance of family, chances are your message will stick when they become adults.
An important way to ensure family closeness is by creating special family traditions. While we all know every eats turkey on Thanksgiving, add something special to the day. Perhaps set aside this day for the entire family to play games. Try playing something as simple as Bingo, where everyone will get a prize – and here's the real treat – make the prizes "coupons". For instance, "This coupon good for one free movie with mom" or "This coupon good for one indoor picnic." Thanksgiving is traditionally a day for football, so organize a friendly family game of your own. You will be surprised how your children will come to treasure these special family times.
Of course, as your children grow, marry and have children of their own, it is not as easy to spend each holiday together. Be flexible and either alternate holidays or pick a few specific holidays where the entire family will be together. Sometimes this sounds like an overwhelming feat, especially if you have a large family, but as I said, children, even when they become adults, need those special occasions and traditions and they will go out of their way to make sure they happen.
Many families that have grown and multiplied considerably but are scattered through the country make it a point to hold a family reunion each year. This is a great opportunity for cousins to get to meet one another, sisters to catch up on gossip and mothers to sit back and enjoy their children and grandchildren.
Another basic premise for keeping your family close is raising them in such a way that they like each other. By this I mean treat your children equally as they are growing; do not favor one over the other as this will lead to jealousy and resentment and will probably continue into adulthood. Foster closeness among your children, praising them equally for their own accomplishments without comparing them to each other.
As your children reach adulthood, become more of a friend than a parent. By this I mean, don't make them feel guilty when they do not call or visit you on a daily basis. This will only lead to a relationship based on obligation rather than anticipation.
When careers and circumstances dictate moving away, you can still remain close. As I stated at the beginning of this article, the Internet has enabled us to reach out to others to ways that were never before possible. For the "computer nerd" in the family, have them set up a family web-site where each of you can "meet". Set up an Internet chess game or game room where once a week or once a month you all get together to play a game.
While modern technology will never replace the warmth of a mother's hug or the pat on the back from his father, keeping close is possible. When a family is built on love, respect and devotion, they will always find a way to be close – if not in body, then in spirit.