good life with kristen duke
Part of cultivating a good life is not being too busy.
I believe strongly that our family bonds grow from intentional activities and conversations. The moments between the activities — the everyday life — that’s where the magic happens. Sure, it’s important that I help my kids discover their passions, but not so much that it infringes on our family time. Family dinner each night is a priority. I intentionally don’t schedule my kids’ activities that would disrupt this goal, even if it means they don’t participate in some activities.
I’m definitely a person who dabbles in lots of projects. I have to; it’s how I thrive. Sometimes those activities and events trickle over to the busy side and I have to reprioritize. I never want to be too busy for my family, too busy for friends. When my children come talk to me, if I’m looking at a computer or a phone, I look up and give them my eyeball attention. I want them to know that though I’ve got “stuff” going on, I’m never too busy for them.
A change I had to intentionally make recently is tucking my kids in at night. I always thought it was a good idea, heard others tell me that kids share the most when they don’t want to go to sleep, but I was always too tired at the end of the day. I also found that I got quite a bit of conversation with them earlier in the day, so I wondered if night time was really that important! Ultimately, I haven’t had any life shattering moments or conversations, but my kids have the visual of me laying by their side, scratching their backs, helping them relax at the end of the day. My kids are old enough that they get themselves ready for bed and don’t “need” me anymore (physically), but it’s this time in their lives that it is crucial to still be a constant in their lives. To show them that they are never too old to lean on me (emotionally).
A friend once said, “If you want your kids to talk to you when they are teenagers, listen to them when they talk about the random stuff like legos and dolls.” I’ve strived to do that, to not be too busy. Now, I have 2 teenagers and 2 pre-teens, and I’m grateful that they talk to me. It’s one of my greatest desires to show my children they are loved, build their self-esteem, to be confident adults.
Through my website, KristenDuke.com, I share on a regular basis ways that I strive to bond as a family, and even share a free e-book, 10 Intentional Ways to Bring your Family Closer Together. If you’re feeling overwhelmed from rushing kids to lots of activities, cut something out! Be choosy about the events where you are apart. I treasure our family dinners and the weekends when we aren’t rushing around. My kids spend a lot of time together at home, and I wouldn’t have it any other way.
a note from becky
I want to reach through my computer and give that Kristen Duke a big squeeze right this very second. I love her. We’ve known about each other for quite some time but last Summer when both of us happened to be in Nauvoo, Illinois for our respective family reunions we got to meet in real life. We were hot + sticky (no, really … it was ridiculously humid) but it was like we were a couple of old friends meeting up. I feel a connection with Kristen in our basic life priorities and core principles. We have a lot in common for sure. And I am grateful for all she does to cultivate a good life and share that positive influence online.