A Word in Season

We as men have an opportunity to use the time we have been given with our families in a really positive way. Our society is fast paced and often quite individual; we have our own devices, our own music selections. It is easy to isolate. We don’t tend to use our time to communicate with those around us.

I know after a busy day I like to use my home commute to transfer emotionally from one place to another. Now I have to adjust to the fact that I won’t have that transition time in the same way that I used to have. So how do I transition from worker to family member in the same house? Even if we don’t have others in our house, taking time to transition from one type of activity to another is still a great idea. I believe this type of transition is really important no matter what our situation. It’s worthwhile pushing pause for a moment and acknowledging that we are moving from one type of activity to other i.e. domestic tasks to a recreational process. If we don’t, I am not sure we will find anything particularly satisfying, whether during this lockdown we are with our family or not, or if we are working or not working. Nothing will ever feel completed! Life will just become a blur of activity.

For me this time of transition will probably involve sitting in my office for half an hour and reading a recreational book of my choice then joining the family. I have also decided to freshen up and change clothes at the end of each work day. This will hopefully help me move from work mode to family / recreation mode in the 4.4 metres of our hallway from my office to the living area. The transition is not geographic but emotional and mental. I am transitioning to make myself available and accessible to my family because they will need me in this time.

During this time I need to emotionally let go of one set of circumstances, in this case work, and embrace the different set of parameters of the family. This lockdown is going to be a tough time on your family the longer this process goes on. The novelty of our situation will soon wear thin if it has not already begun to do so. The way we speak to our family especially our children can have a long term impact. Our children won’t necessarily remember what was said but they will remember how they felt when it was said. Your wife will remember what was said AND how it was said!! So you and I need to practice responding not reacting. Taking that second or two of allowing yourself to breathe before you say a word can make all the difference. If you cannot manage to be civil, walk away until you can! This could make a huge difference in the long-term.

Let’s keep connecting with each other. The Promise Keepers Group on Facebook [here] is available for you to share your views and connect with other men across the country. This is the place where you can reach out for help; tell us how you are doing; or chat with the guys.

In the classic words of Hill Street Blues “Let’s be careful out there!”

Paul Monahan

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