As part of our year-end “Where Are They Now?” fundraising campaign, we are checking in with families who have been utilizing the Connected Families Framework in their homes. What do these families look like 5, 10, or even 15 years later? Meet Luke and Jami Johnson and see how focusing more on Connection has been a blessing in their family for years. Enjoy and be encouraged!
Connected families was a game changer for our family. I remember so clearly the day, around 1999, that Lynne was the guest speaker at our MOPS meeting in the Chanhassen Rec Center. I was a stay-at-home mom with 3 kids, trying so hard to do it all right. I remember her using phrases like “spirited children”, “fun dad”, “bossy stern mom”, and immediately connected deeply with her story.
Parenting as opposites
Through Lynne’s teaching that day, I began to understand that my structured, detailed-oriented approach to life, and even parenting, was actually a perfect match to my husband Luke’s playful, spontaneous nature. Previously that had been a cause for tension in our relationship.
Though we both loved our kids deeply, our distinct personalities as adults affected how we interacted with them and observed their behavior. I realized that our kids need both of us and, with God’s help, we could bring our natural desires for both structure and fun. In the end, our kids were richer for our differences!
The secret to a deeper connection
Another incredible gem learned from Connected Families described how, if we’re really honest, the majority of our communication to our kids can be corrective in nature. We’re often redirecting behavior and barking commands about chores, homework, teeth-brushing, etc. In the busyness of life, true connection (conversations and times that are enjoyable together) is a rarity.
Lynne suggested to intentionally spend more time connecting. The idea was that the need for correcting may actually decrease as connection increases. Again, it was a moment of truth for me! One of our kids is for sure the most “spirited” of the bunch and the one that I often tangled with over behavior. I became intentional about looking for things to love and appreciate. I took the time to initiate conversations and experiences together. The deep connection we soon began to experience was humbling, and the change was remarkable! What this looks like in everyday life
The summer before our son left for college out of state he was very much into the Lord of the Rings trilogy of movies. He loved the deep truths and amazing story it told. Several times he asked me to “maybe watch just one and see what I thought”, knowing that the movies probably weren’t my style. In the end, he and I spent the better part of a weekend binge watching all three movies together in our basement. At some point, he realized I was crying and he shouted out, “Mom, isn’t it just an amazing story?” It was a sacrifice of my time for sure, but one that I still look back on with such tenderness at the time we shared together.
In a similar story of an unlikely path to connection, our two daughters are avid readers and both absolutely loved the Harry Potter series of books. They begged me to read the books to better understand and appreciate the story and the quality of writing. I finally decided to plunge in, just to “connect” with my girls. I was pleasantly surprised, so much so that I happily read the entire series. Luke did as well! We surprised all our kids with a night out last Christmas season to the Kansas City Symphony orchestra playing alongside the airing of one of the movies. Such a great night together, celebrating another element of family connection!
Our family has grown, and we are thrilled to be able to enjoy adult friendships with our kids as well as their spouses. We are eternally thankful for the solid principles learned through Connected Families; namely, that humility and grace must be present to have healthy family relationships. Families are God’s idea. And when we can submit our human frailty and stubbornness to His will, He can surprise us with the beauty and uniqueness of the personalities within a family that can thrive together.
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