(Dr. Clayton Lawrence, founder and CEO, shares his thoughts in a weekly column focused on community wellness and inspiring others.)
These next few weeks could present quite a few opportunities to spend quality time with the youth in your life, whether you are a parent, grandparent, caregiver or mentor. Time off school and work in celebration of the holidays means a bit of downtime that could quickly pass by on smart phones, video games and holiday chores.
Take our advice – time is precious. Don’t waste it away. Use some of it making memories, sharing a laugh or two, connecting with each other and disconnecting from objects. When the youth in your life looks back to remember the special memories from these precious years, he or she won’t remember the Instagram posts from that day or how well he did on the video game, but they WILL remember the smell of cookies baking in the kitchen, the board games that became a weekly tradition and the special things that you allowed them to discover about you.
Here are a few meaningful and memorable ways to spend your time off. But be sure to stop the timer; unrushed time is time well spent.
Hit the mall or shops together
Play board games or card games together
Bake homemade cookies together
Enjoy leftovers in front of a favorite holiday movie
Donate time at a local shelter or spend time with shut-ins
Take a road trip together
Visit with family
Explore what your community has to offer – visit libraries, museums and theaters
Create slips of paper, each containing a favorite movie, and choose at random
Create a New Year’s Resolution together
Explore and/or apply for scholarships or internships
Plan a youth-focused holiday gathering that allows everyone to get to know one other
Create a calendar for the upcoming year that includes a committed date each month to spend time together
Take a class or workshop together, such as painting, computer or cooking
Create a gratitude jar that includes 365 reminders for each day of the upcoming new year