Protecting Family Time

“In our fast paced competitive information driven world, protecting family time has become a huge challenge.” {1}

As parents, we have to be intentional & deliberate about

creating opportunities to spend time together.

It is in your power to make spending time with your family a priority.

The Napkin Story

My favorite talk or speech given at BlissDom {blog conference} last weekend was given by blogger, writer and professional speaker Jon Acuff.  I was very moved by a personal story he shared with us:

“It is my job to help my Daughter with her spelling words each week,” Jon said. {What a good Dad!}  As he was calling out the spelling words, he decided he would get on the computer.  Jon would call out the spelling word and she would write it down.  He got caught up in what he was doing on the computer and stopped calling out the spelling words.  Next thing he knew, while he was sitting at the computer, a napkin appeared on his computer mouse:

"Daddy pay attention?"

Jon realized he needed to direct his attention to his Daughter instead of the computer.

Excellent words of wisdom from Jon:

“Make time for the things that matter.”

“Be deliberate about focusing on your family.”

“Kids don’t believe in later, they believe in now.”

Jon suggested, “we need to be selfish at 5 or 6 in the morning {or at night after our kids are in bed} before our kids wake up…use that time to get on the computer.”

This is excellent advice about truly being present with our family.

Exercise the Power to Choose

You know, to parent these days is different because of technology.  I have to be very mindful to put away my phone and be present while with my family.  We need to remember to set the example {me included.}  If our kids see us on our phone or electronic devices every chance we get, it sends a message to them.  It says, we don’t care about them.  It says we care more about technology than we do people.  This topic has been on my mind heavily lately.  I don’t want my kids to think I don’t care about them.  Our kids learn from us.  Technology will continue to be with us.  Do we want to teach our children to care more about our devices than people?  We have to exercise our power to choose the way we spend our time.

We Have to Set Limits & Boundaries

For example, we don’t allow anyone in our family {at home} to use their phones during dinner time {it’s a little different when we are at a restaurant & we’re waiting on the food to be cooked, we allow it in moderation.}  If someone calls during dinner, we let the voice mail take a message.  Every once in a while, I will find my 16 year old hiding her phone on her lap and catch her texting.  We give her a simple reminder of our rule and she puts it away.  We don’t do this because we are control freaks and want to ruin her social life.  We do this because dinner time is FAMILY time.  Family time is special and sacred.  Family dinner time is a ritual or tradition within our family.  This is the time we talk about the day and focus on each other.

Your family time has to be untouchable.

If you don’t protect your rituals or traditions, your family will disconnect.

Spending time together is a characteristic of successful families.


Side Note

There is so much I want to share with you about my experience at BlissDom blog conference, but I can’t do it all in one post.  I feel strongly about sharing some of Jon Acuff’s keynote speech with you today.  I look forward to sharing many other amazing and helpful memories about BlissDom in future posts.  If you can’t wait to see some photos, I will post some of my favorites on Family Brings Joy’s Facebook Page throughout the week. {Please come join us!}  I am sensitive about this blog not being a ‘brag session’ or ‘travel log’ of my trip to this blog conference.  Please know I will be incorporating the BlissDom posts periodically throughout my regular posts.  {I’m pretty sure some of you might be tired of me talking about BlissDom.} ______________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

HOW do you protect your family time?

I want to know of your successes or failures.  I’m pretty sure other readers will too.  This is a safe place.  We will not judge you.  You & fellow readers are passionate about family.  We want to inspire one another so we can help create a successful family.  Family Brings Joy is a community where we can cheer each other on in contributing to strengthening our families.

And remember, it’s not too late to begin protecting your family time now, I promise!  Maybe you have read this and are thinking, “I need to be better.”  That’s the first step at doing it.  I didn’t write this to make you feel like a horrible person.  I wrote this in an effort to make us more conscientious about what we are doing with our time when we are around the people we love.

Please share your answer here in the comments section or on Family Brings Joy’s Facebook Page.

Source for Beginning Quote: Real Families Real Answers

Disclaimer: Jon Acuff did not pay me to write this post.

Don’t let a napkin be your wake up call,


  1. Great post today Shan! Love it and your heart for families! 🙂 So glad to have you back and can’t wait to hear more about your time at Blissdom! Looking forward to catching some pics on fb and I have to tell you that I had no idea who that guy was you posted a pic of singing. HA! I’m sharing this on my fb page, we could all use to read this post!
    ange recently posted..Before & After: Little Boy Vintage Americana Room

  2. Everybody needs to read this post. Families are falling apart these days…and those irritating cell phones with texting drive me crazy (yes, I have a 16 year old also). I love your family dinner tradition. I’m sharing this on my fb page too. I will be looking for more Blissdom pics (any more Jonas pics? haha)
    Shasta Farrar recently posted..A Touch Of Spring

  3. I loved Jon Acuff’s talk — it was wonderful and this napkin story stuck with me too. And this is why I’m busy working at 10:15 pm while my kids are asleep. I’m so glad we met and look forward to following your blog.


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