One of the greatest potential benefits of family is the sense of belonging. Sadly, not every family enjoys that. If you don’t work at building family spirit and a culture of togetherness, you’ll miss one of the greatest treasures in life.
As I say often, little things done consistently over a long time give the greatest benefits. So it is in strengthening family spirit. It doesn’t require a lot of money, nor can you accomplish it with just a big event. It happens mainly by staying connected and sharing in each other’s wins, struggles, and just everyday stories.
One way our family stays connected is through our family group text. It may seem overly simplistic and I admit, we kind of stumbled into it. But I’m amazed at the way it allows us to stay informed and celebrate with each other as warranted on an almost daily basis.
For example, our group text blew up several times a few days ago. Celebrating Gail’s mentoring dinner with a group of young moms. Plans for a family watch party of the blood super moon. Someone’s amazing deal on a new washer and dryer. And some plain ol’ silliness.
Obviously this may not apply fully to families with younger children. My kids are all adults and we no longer all live in the same city—which makes the group text even more valuable to us. But mobile devices are available to kids at an increasingly younger age. This is just another way to leverage that mobile device for the family’s good.
Our family group text serves us in several ways:
- Celebrations and congratulations. When one rejoices, we all rejoice. Good news begs to be shared and celebrated. The family should be the first network to rally around good news. Any accomplishment, opportunity, important mile-marker gets a group high-five. And there’s no time like the present to celebrate. Texting allows for immediate celebration to maximize the moment.
Needs and challenges. When one suffers, we all suffer. Life is a mixed bag of good and sometimes not so good. When one gets broadsided, it helps to reach out to those closest to you for support. It could be an illness, car trouble, unexpected job change—when life messes with us, we need each other. If the family can’t help directly, there is the assurance of our prayer support.
Encouragement. When we’re gearing up for the big game, presentation, interview, or final exam, we do better knowing we’re not alone. Having a solid group of family fans rooting for you from the sidelines builds confidence. A quick text can gain a dose of much-needed encouragement.
Inside jokes. Families that laugh together—and a lot—tend to be closer than those that don’t. There are just some things that are funnier to your own family. Honestly, our group text fires up more on this level than just about anything else. Funny pictures, headlines, movie quotes—they come randomly and are always welcome.
News and notes. Just information that everyone needs to know. We try to keep this more to email so we don’t create needless distraction. But it’s sometimes a bit more urgent and everyone can be updated quickly.
You get the idea. Stuff you would normally share when together. But being able to share throughout the day maintains the connectedness while everyone is running in different directions.
The downside is: being able to share throughout the day at will. The strength of the group text can also become a real annoyance. Some members may be deeply involved in work and not appreciate the barrage of texts that come suddenly. It’s a tension we find ourselves constantly managing. The key is to keep the group banter short and on point. Tangent long-winded conversations among a few quickly become a distraction at best.
The benefits of staying in each other’s lives, however, are worth taking advantage of every opportunity. It gives us the chance to support one another and reinforces that we have something special as family.
Question: How do you use a family group text to build family spirit? Share your answer in the comments below.