July in Utah is big. I mean crazy big. Utah goes all out. Not only do we celebrate the Fourth of July, we also celebrate Pioneer Day on the 24th of July. Every city, large and small, has their "Days": Steel Days, Fiesta Days, Swiss Days, etc. Each with their own festival, often with parades, a carnival, fireworks, picnics, car shows, music, outdoor movies, rodeos and all kinds of celebrations and activities for families. This last month I saw at least four different fireworks displays each one bigger or as big as the last.
My two older children are at the age and stage of life where they're preferring to hang with their friends. So during our town's Steel Days festivities I got to hang out with my younger two children (while my wife took a much needed break). They walked/rode in the Children's Parade, we ate lots of yummy bad food at the Children's Fair, and we went to the City of Fun Carnival (FYI: if you've ever seen the movie The Sandlot then it's the exact same carnival you saw there and it was filmed in our town, American Fork, during Steel Days. Pretty cool, eh? So there's our claim to fame!). Great time hanging with the family.
Several years ago, a neighbor asked my wife, Kara, "So what are Jon's hobbies? What does he do for fun?" She told him simply, "When Jon comes home, after seeing me, he seeks out the kids and plops down and starts playing with them. That's what he loves to do. That's his fun. I guess that's his hobby: Our kids."
My wife's observation of me made me feel great. I didn't quite realize that myself, but it was true—and still is. Hanging with the fam is my preferred activity. I realize though, that that's not the case for everyone—That many good people struggle with finding joy in hanging with their fams. And I'm not sharing this to say, "Look how great I am" though you're more than welcome to look. ;-) I am sharing this to say that I attribute our relationship success to many great TEACHINGS and many great MENTORS and many great PRACTICES and many great DECISIONS. Those same great teachings, mentors, practices and decisions are available to you as well. The great relationship is in your reach. I have distilled these teachings, practices and decisions into the following publications (all are available at www.bardos.net/products):
Take the time to learn from the best down-to-earth practices that I've gleaned from long personal and professional experience combined with the best research- and evidence-based approaches that really work. Take the time to create an atmosphere where hanging with the family brings out the best in you and you in them.