After a fantastic holiday in Dorset a few years ago, my wife, Esther, and I were chatting during the long drive home. We were discussing how we were people watching while enjoying our time with our children and had noticed the importance of family relationships around us.
Whether they were playing on the beach with their young children or taking a walk in the hills with their teenagers, relationships were being developed and nurtured.
Esther made a profound remark during that conversation: “While we can be on holiday, we should never be on holiday from our relationships.”
Her comment is starkly accurate and I found from that day it was also a real challenge. Three years on from that discussion, her observation is as important as ever, especially in post-lockdown days.
All relationships are important to us whether business, friends or, most importantly, family. For parents, it is essential to ensure children understand the importance of family relationships to ensure their well-being.
A 2017 study exclaimed: “Relationships within the family are important for the development of children's well-being, as well as for their evaluations of their family and their overall life satisfaction.” (Dinisman, Tamar & Andresen, Sabine & Montserrat, Carme & Strózik, Dorota & Strózik, Tomasz)
This is certainly a challenge for us all during the summer school holidays, but one we cannot avoid when considering the importance of our children’s happiness.
Relationships on staycation
For some, this will be the first year for some time that their holiday will be closer to home than usual. Many will have to stay at home, unable to rearrange cancelled holidays, or due to the uncertainty of the changing pattern of the pandemic.
Those of us with school-age children will find the switch from schooldays to school holidays a little less familiar. The line in the sand, so to speak, between school and home has eroded over the past months.
I am sure we have all learned that our relationships with our family have altered, too. There will have been times when our patience has been tested.
Nonetheless, we have had to focus intensely on giving time, care and attention to our relationships within our home to avoid things going wrong. For some, that will have been more challenging than usual!
But, all relationships need an investment of our time and care to ensure they remain healthy.
Relationships outside our ‘bubbles’ may have been virtual, but the importance of staying in touch via WhatsApp and other platforms has been paramount. Giving time to extended family relationships, even when we’ve been forced apart, highlights the value everyone has in each other’s lives.
Now that lockdown has eased enough so that we can visit those family members, we must not neglect investing in those relationships during holiday time. The days of the coronavirus pandemic has, in many cases, re-established family relationships that may have been faltering. Thanks to people across all ages discovering technology the distance between us has evaporated, and relationships have been rekindled.
So, whether you are holidaying at home or one of those lucky people who have managed to find an available cottage, it has never been easier to invest time in your relationships thanks to technology.
Family relationships can teach us a lesson in business relationships, too.
Next week I will offer some ideas for parents to keep family relationships healthy, which can easily be migrated to our business relationships! Proof, if ever it were needed, that relationships in business can be child’s play!