Friday Review: Family

Friday Review: Family

What does “Family” mean to you? Here are a few related posts you may have missed.

“The family is one of nature’s masterpieces.”





“The bond that links your true family is not one of blood, but of respect and joy in each other’s life.”




“Children are the living message we send to a time we will not see.”




We could never have guessed were already blessed There we were

“We could never have guessed / were already blessed / There we were…”

—James Taylor, in “Up Er Mei”

Image from Unsplash by Donald Giannatti

The days leading to and during the holidays are times of deeper reflection for many. The slowing of our work schedules and the numerous celebrations involving family and friends help us pause to count our many blessings. This past week my son and his wife visited us, driving from Madison, Wisconsin to Warminster, Pennsylvania to reconnect and enjoy some quality time together.

Delicious meals, extended family gatherings, and playing with our daughter’s children Weston and Ella were some highlights. Perhaps the greatest blessing was simply noting how thankful we were to be in each other’s company.


In what ways do you already count your many blessings? How can and will you approach this holiday season and the year ahead with a more mindful and heartfelt appreciation for all that you have?

“If you can be happy with simple things, then it will be simple to be happy.”

“If you can be happy with simple things, then it will be simple to be happy.”

—Neil Pasricha, The Happiness Equation

Barry, Wendy, and their family

Every summer when I was a kid I got to camp for two months at Indian Lake in the Pocono Mountains of Pennsylvania. I look upon those yearly adventures as some of the happiest times of my life. Our days were simple and always included friends, food, fun, and sun.

On July 1st, my daughter Rachel realized FaceTime was not sufficient. She decided to get a COVID test and bring our grandson Weston to Michigan for “Grandma and Pop Pop Camp.”

Guess what?

Family, food, fun and sun are still essential elements of many happy times over a half century later!


What are the essential elements—internal and external—of a full and happy life for you?

How and in what ways can you rediscover the happiness and joy in the simple things in life?

“Children are the living message we send to a time we will not see.”

“Children are the living message we send to a time we will not see.”

—Neil Postman, 20th Century media theorist

Image from

How familiar are you with the 1977 Voyager interstellar Missions to the planets of the outer solar system?

One of the unique aspects of these pioneering space probes was the inclusion of a 12-inch gold plated copper disk containing sounds and messages selected to portray the diversity of life and culture on Earth, should some other intelligent beings discover it.

Voyager 1 moved into interstellar space in August 2012, Voyager 2 in November 2018. Today, they are far beyond the boundaries of our solar system, speeding through interstellar space into unknown parts of our Milky Way Galaxy, still sending scientific information about their surroundings back to Earth.


Take a few minutes to consider children and grandchildren—whether your own or part of your extended family—as golden discs you are sending out into the world. What living messages can and will you teach and share with them to take into a time you may never see?

“The bond that links your true family is not one of blood, but of respect and joy in each other’s life.”

“The bond that links your true family is not one of blood, but of respect and joy in each other’s life.”

—Richard Bach, American 1970s Author

Image from Unsplash by Leonardo Yip

During a recent trip out of the country for two weeks, my wife Wendy and I had very limited contact with our family. We did, however, travel with two good friends and a little over 700 other shipmates to explore Greece and Israel.

In addition to our fellow passengers, we were served and supported by over 400 staff and crew from over 40 countries.

To our delight and joy, we both experienced a new level of friendship and a genuine sense of a global family.


Where and how can you experience far greater respect and joy within your extended communities beyond your immediate family? What would be the value and impact of this expanded family bond in your life?

Don’t close the book when bad things happen

“Don’t close the book when bad things happen in your life. Just turn the page and begin a new chapter.”

—Author Unknown

Image of a page-turning book

Image from Unsplash by socialcut

Did you know that the average Social Security payout for retirees is just 29 months?

Although most of us think of retirement as our “Golden Years,” and while we continue to hear of all sorts of fantastic new medical breakthroughs to extend the quality and length of life, this statistic is shocking. But it improves considerably when three critical factors are present:

  • Friends, family, community
  • Financial stability – a nest egg
  • A future-oriented mindset

The level of engagement and overall life purpose can diminish with retirement. Retirees  often find much less meaning in life and a reason to get up in the morning when their vocational years are over.


What relational, financial, and mindset factors can and will you put in place to keep writing each new exciting chapter in your life for many more healthy, and happy years to come?

A Happy Family is but an Early Heaven

“A happy family is but an early Heaven.”

—John Browning, 19th Century Firearms Designer

Image of a house under a rainbow

For many people – myself included – home and family represent a sanctuary of safety, peace, and happiness. It is a place we expect and usually find security, community, and the love we seek to give and receive.

How much time and attention do you actually give to your family during the work week, as well as on the weekend?

How often do you share meals together without phones, play board games, or engage in deep and meaningful discussions?

Far too many of us operate as ships that pass in the night. We only experience brief moments of togetherness, more often under the same roof, but not together.


Where and in what ways can you experience far more “Heaven on Earth” by making your family a more prominent priority each and every day?

“The family is one of nature’s masterpieces.”

“The family is one of nature’s masterpieces.”

—George Santayana, Spanish philosopher, essayist, poet, and novelist

Image from Flickr by Loren Kerns

Image from Flickr by Loren Kerns

Whenever I begin a new coaching relationship, I conduct a core values exercise, as part of my personal excellence training.

In this personal inquiry, the individual examines their most important priorities, beliefs, and commitments. Family is almost always on this list, if not among the top three.

Upon completion of our one-day training session, each client is encouraged to plan and initiate various projects for their professional and personal lives. One of my latest executive clients has named his current personal project “Home Sweet Home,” as he is now placing a much higher importance on his family.


Should the value of family be a top priority for you, please consider developing your own “Home Sweet Home” project with family members, and make this area of your life an even more beautiful masterpiece.

“A friend is a loved one…”

“A friend is a loved one who awakens your life in order to free the wild possibilities within you.”

– John O’Donohue, poet, philosopher and Catholic priest

QC #1016a

Someone once told me that friends are the family we choose for ourselves. That puts friendships in a very special category of relationships.

One of the key attributes of our friends is that they are tuned into our personal life frequencies. We are far better together than apart.


What are two to three areas of your life that need to be awakened? What would you consider to be a wild possibility in these areas?

Who are the friends that bring this special spark to your life, and how can you be this kind of friend for others?