Despite vast technological advances and increased efficiencies over the past century, parents worldwide feel more overworked and stressed than ever before. Moreover, the global pandemic accelerated and accentuated these issues for many parents as both kids and work became a part of home life simultaneously.
Physicians are among some of the hardest worked, busiest professionals in the modern workforce. The more you learn about their lives, the more appreciation and admiration for them you acquire. As a result, finding quality time to connect with their children is more challenging than ever.
Jim Sheils, speaker, real estate investor, and author of the book, "The Family Board Meeting," offers busy medical professionals a light at the end of the tunnel: a simple, three-step process to increase quality time with their children and deepen their parent-child bond.
In his book, Jim writes of the realization that he had been neglecting to spend quality time with his kids while building his real estate business. He said, "What we failed to notice was that the efforts we made to financially support our children were undermining our ability to emotionally support them. The devices that seemed to so effortlessly connect us were, in fact, dividing us."
Jim decided from that day forward, he was going to prioritize his children just as he had been prioritizing his business. He realized that he needed a structured, precise, and repeatable process if he wanted to cultivate a loving bond between him and his kids.
That led him to develop "The Family Board Meeting," a straightforward three-step process to show his kids how important they are to him.
The idea is simple: every quarter, Jim spends a distraction-free four hours, one-on-one, with each of his kids, doing a fun activity of their choosing.
Jim had realized that he was great at getting things done in his business; he set clear goals, prioritized steps, took action, and accomplished his goals. But when it came to spending time with his kids, he always intended to spend time with them but never quite made it happen, and their relationships were showing it.
He writes, "We all have great plans to spend quality time with family. But consider this: if you relied only on good intentions to do your job or build your business each day, how well would you be doing? Probably not so well."
He goes on, "Succeeding in your home life, like your professional life, requires more than just intention—it requires execution. And that means intending to spend quality time with your kids isn't the same as actually doing it."
Here are Jim's three steps to cultivate wonderful parent-child relationships:
Step 1: Get one-on-one.
Part of the secret to Jim's success in building deep parent-child relationships is spending time with his kids one-on-one. Jim explains that it shows his children he cares about them as individuals, and it cultivates a safe environment for them to talk more openly than they would with another sibling or friend around.
He writes, "It's easy to fall into the trap of thinking that any time with your kids is true quality time; It isn't. When it comes to connection, any more than two is a crowd."
Surprisingly, during his work with other parents, he found that while most parents do a decent job spending time with their kids, they rarely remember spending one-on-one time with each of their children.
Jim continues, "Many of the people we've spoken to could not remember a single moment of one-on-one time with their kids...Very few had regular one-on-one time."
The first step toward building an incredible parent-child bond is to "give your kids the gift of individual, focused time together," he writes.
Step 2: Disconnect to reconnect (no electronics).
To have a successful Family Board Meeting, phones and other electronics should be turned off and stowed away for the duration of the time together. Bringing a phone along is no different than bringing another person, violating the one-on-one rule.
Jim writes that one of his favorite parts of each Family Board Meeting is the ritual of powering down his phone, which his kids help him do. This allows him to have genuinely focused, distraction-free time with his children. In addition, it helps him show his kids that they're more important than an incoming email, text, or call, and they have his full and undivided attention.
The only exception to this rule is for a photo together sometime during the Family Board Meeting. Jim says this is a crucial element to the next step, focused reflection.
Step 3: Choose fun activities with focused reflection.
When it comes to choosing the activity, it's best to let your kids decide. It doesn't have to be over the top or expensive, as long as your kid is having fun. Jim warns that many parents will unconsciously find themselves attempting to guide their kid's decisions toward the parents' interest, despite the child's lack of interest.
The best advice here is to let your kid decide on what a fun activity would be for the day. This will also help your children have some ownership over the Family Board Meeting, creating instant buy-in. Additionally, it's an excellent way for parents to understand more of their children's interests and hobbies and have a front-row seat as those interests change over time.
The next aspect is where most parents get nervous: focused reflection. Jim quickly diffuses the nerves by advising, "Many parents get nervous about this part, but it's easier than you think. It can be as short as five minutes—in fact, we recommend keeping it short, especially when starting out."
After a fun four hours together, you've reached a point where you and your child are open to a real connection. Jim says that he likes to start the conversation with this simple question: What was your favorite part of today?
From there, it's as simple as listening and reflecting with your child. Jim says this is when many parents find their children opening up about bigger topics.
The time you put in often builds the foundation where you can be a bigger part of their questions, goals, fears and dreams. For me, that's exactly the type of thing(s) I want to be a sounding board for my children on!
TrueNorth Wealth is here to help.
One of the main stressors busy physicians and parents face is their finances. Knowing how to protect your wealth, invest it, and optimize it is a constant area of focus; not to mention tax planning. All of this usually takes time, lots of time!
At TrueNorth Wealth, we offer busy physicians the ability to offload the bulk of their financial decision-making by pairing each client with a dedicated CFP® professional backed by an incredible team. As a result, each client gets a clear and understandable financial plan tailored to their unique goals. Remember, we work for you. So we render our opinion and review anything and everything related to your finances that you wish. For our clients, if they are uninterested in our opinion on a topic - great! We move right along to the next topic/item.
For our team at TrueNorth, it's about so much more than money. It's about serving families all across Utah and helping them achieve freedom and flexibility in their lives. To learn more or schedule a no-cost consultation, visit our website at TrueNorth Wealth or call (801) 316-1875.