Communication….every leading expert in the country talks about communication and how important it is to a family’s and marriage’s well being, but getting it done and done well can be tough. My husband and I have resorted to email because having a conversation without being interrupted a thousand times was becoming impossible. We also tried weekly family meetings, but never seemed to find a “perfect” time and when we did, they always seemed so forced and awkward. But recently we are feeling more encouraged because we have started something new, a family newsletter.
Inspired by the weekly newsletter my second grader’s teacher sent home every week, my oldest daughter one day took it upon herself to create her own newsletter for our family. She listed everyone’s accomplishments for the week, added important dates everyone should remember, wrote articles of interest, and told everyone to just drop a note outside her bedroom door if there was anything they wanted to add.
And so our family newsletter was born. We gave it a name, the “Schlaf’s Up” (a play on words of our last name and a famous beer commercial) and continually add things of interest to us. My husband especially likes the newsletter because it gives him a chance to hear about some of the little things he may have missed during the week and it also helps remind him of important dates on our busy schedule. My daughters’ favorite part is the Joke and Riddle section, especially when their father has time to make up riddles for them to guess.
My favorite part is a section we call “From the Minds of Babes” and is the place where we attempt to answer all those tough questions you get asked while cooking dinner, but don’t necessarily know the answer to off the top of your head. As they ask me those questions, I write them down, research the answer, and add it to the newsletter. It makes me feel a lot less guilty for how much I don’t know and gives me a great learning experience too! At times my daughters will write articles or poems and do artwork for the newsletter. It has become a weekly ritual allowing us to communicate and share in a different sort of way while still helping us stay connected on the basic fundamental’s of every family’s life…the kids’ schedules.
Over time our newsletter has become a collection of the things important to us, but is something every family can do for themselves by incorporating those things uniquely important to them. For those families with grandparents or relatives living in different cities, they may want to send a copy to Grandma, Granddad, or Aunt Sue to help them stay in touch. The important thing is to get everyone involved and make it something everyone enjoys.