The holidays are just around the corner which means it is the perfect time to tell you about the Extension educational program titled, “Loving Long-Distance: Families Separated by Distance.” Our world has certainly changed since I was a youngster. Growing up on a farm in Washington County, all of my grandparents were within 10 miles of our home so we spent lots of time together on weekends and holidays. Nowadays, families may be separated because of military obligations, job responsibilities, or broken family relationships. Whatever the reason is for separation, there are lots of ways to make the holidays and day to day activities more meaningful. In fact, sometimes the family ties can actually be strengthened.
In the book Parenting Alone Together ... How Does Our Family Change? author Mary Dooley Burns identifies five R’s of family change during geographic separation. These five R’s are roles, rules, relationships, routines, and recreation. If communication and family discussions occur before the separation, adjustments of these five R’s can smooth the transition.
My husband, John, and I feel so blessed to have our two young granddaughters growing up right here in Great Bend. We are privileged to get in on the little day to day events and seeing them grow and develop. I know many people separated from children and grandchildren who take what could be stressful and challenging, and find unique ways to strengthen family ties. Spending the time being creative in maintaining family connections may help all family members feel included and valued.
Mark your calendar for the upcoming program I will facilitate, Loving Long Distance. Thursday, Nov. 8, I will present the information at noon at the Great Bend Activity Center, on 18th street. Friday, Nov. 9, I will present the same information at the Great Bend Senior Center, beginning at 1 p.m. The programs are free and open to everyone.
Donna Krug is the Family and Consumer Science Agent with K-State Research and Extension – Barton County. One may reach her at 620-793-1910 or email@example.com.