Raising a family is tough. Leading well when you are away from the family (for business or whatever reason) is infinitely harder. This past weekend my wife and I both were gone in separate places for separate reasons. We were nervous about being away from our little ones, mostly because we want them to feel safe, secure, and loved even when we cannot be there. Recently, we heard of another leader who shared something that he and his wife do when they are gone from their kids, called the While We Are Away Box. We tried to use their idea for our kids this past weekend.
The While We Are Away Box can be adapted and changed in whatever way to fit your family, your style, the amount of time you are gone, or even the amount of time you have to prepare. Basically, it is a box where you can leave things to help your children feel special and loved while you are gone; it shows them that you are thinking about them even though you are not there; and it helps them when they are scared or sad that you are gone.
Goals of the While We Are Away Box:
- To remind the kids we love them
- To comfort the children if they are nervous, scared, or sad
- To ensure that it is ok and good that we are gone
- To remind the kids that we will be back soon
- To help the babysitters if the children are having a hard time
- To teach the children that Jesus is always with them
Ideas to leave behind
- Little notes addressed to each kid
- Bible verses
- A special snack or something sweet
- A gift card for pizza or a movie
- Post-it-notes for them to draw pictures of their weekend or little notes to share with us when we get back
- A Date and time for Facetime or phone calls
Ask the babysitter to disperse the items at select times throughout the day. Times we used were when the kids got up in the morning, woke up from naps, and before bed. The other parts of the day they probably did not realize we were even gone. That’s a good thing. We have great sitters. We know it is important and necessary at times to be away from our kids, but even though we are gone, we want our children to know they are loved and cherished and that we are thinking about them while we are away.
Keep in mind, I have little ones at home, but you can adapt this idea to any age. I am sure if you left your wife at home while you went on a business trip, a See’s Candy box and a Starbucks coffee gift card would do the trick.
What do you do when you are away? Do you bring something back for them when you return? Do you make a point to call them every night?