I wanted and needed to spend more time with my family. The oldest of my three daughters was starting to make poor choices, and I felt like I had failed as a parent because I hardly realized it. To add to that, my nephew recently moved in with us after my mother-in-law passed away, and I wanted to build a better relationship with him. I found out about the Challenge through my co-worker, Hilary Newsome. She was a Challenge Winner and shared her success at a meeting. She talked about the little changes that helped her look at life in a different, more positive way. I thought, “Hey, the Challenge could help me slow down, make time for my family, and look at my life in a different way.”
“I made it a priority to cook a family dinner each night.”
The very first step I took was simple: I decided to listen. I took time every day to touch base with my kids and listen to how they were feeling. I made it a priority to cook a family dinner each night and have it ready by a certain time. Now, my wife and kids look forward to dinner at 5:30, where we can sit down together at the table and talk about how the day went and what we’ll be up to tomorrow. I’ve started making changes to my own diet, like having zucchini noodles instead of regular pasta, and now that we’re eating together, my kids are becoming interested in making healthy swaps, too. Our dinner routine has brought us closer, as well as putting phones away between 12 and 2 p.m. each day to socialize without screens.
“The counselor helped me look at things in a new way.”
My oldest daughter is doing better now. She has developed the same work enthusiasm that I have. We talk daily about her job, about school. I started going to counseling with my middle daughter as well. She was struggling with her stepmother and didn’t want to go to her dad’s house anymore. I wanted to show up for her and understand things from her perspective.
“Our relationship is so much closer.”
I’ve also grown my relationship with my nephew. When he first moved in, he was nervous around me because we hardly knew each other. He wouldn’t sit next to me or hug me. Now, our relationship is so much closer and he feels comfortable coming to me with his feelings and problems. The same goes for my wife. She was having a hard time grieving the loss of her mother, but didn’t initially tell me because she was afraid of judgment. Once I made myself more available to her, she started coming to me more and sharing her feelings. I told her, “A couple of months ago, you wouldn’t have told me this. Thank you for telling me and trusting me.”
“I realized I was missing all the little things.”
At first, it was hard to admit there was so much space between me and my children. But once I stepped back and realized where my children were suffering, and what I could do to help, I saw things differently. I realized I was missing all the little things because I was too concerned with checking off another thing I needed to get done that day. I’ve learned to slow down and appreciate my family.
— Krystal Aldape, Supercenter #2277; Clovis, CA; $5K Winner