I spent much of this past Sunday afternoon cooking with my mom. I asked her to teach me how to make “Kebbeh” a delicious Lebanese recipe that involves ground meat with onions and bulgur baked in the oven. (Trust me on the delicious). As I’ve written, I’m trying to learn how to make lots of favorites from when I was child both for A. posterity and B. healthy eating (and to share on this blog).
Now this particular recipe was quite complex. I’m going to work on simplifying so it can me made more easily here in the U.S. and so it works for regular dinners made by relatively busy people. But cooking with mom all afternoon showed me something other than how to recreate a good meal from where I grew up: It showed me the power of doing activities, physical activities, with the people we love.
When trying to have quality time or bond, people often think they have to have deep, meaningful conversations. I certainly do. But I was reminded on Sunday that one of the best ways to keep a bond strong is to make something together. In my case, it was making a meal from scratch (and then preferably enjoying that meal together). It could be as varied as carpentry, seasonal decorations like pumpkin carving, baking, making a photo album… Or it can be about experiencing something together, like going on a day trip, taking a class (could be online), reading the same book at the same time, even listening to the same weekly podcast…
After six weeks of happily getting to spend a lot of time with family, I’ve learned that doing activities can bring you together in 4 key ways:
- Working on something together can bring out the best in both of you
- Having fun together is bonding in a very significant way– You then associate memories of the person with good times.
- In the spirit of work-life balance, you can combine 2 key factors together: Seeing loved ones with while doing things on your bucket list, small and large.
- Sharing things you really like can be much more powerful than telling loved ones about things you like. As any writer and editor will tell you: Show don’t tell!
- Doing things with loved ones can be one of the best escapes from daily stress and is a good way to stop thinking about work tasks and goals. By being active, you are forced to be more present. It’s hard to be on your phone checking email when your hands are busy.
Would love more ideas of activities to do with loved ones. Please share!