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The tenth most popular New Year’s resolution from University of Scranton’s Journal of Clinical Psychology was to Spend More Time with Family. This reminds me of the classic joke:

— A billionaire is on vacation on a topical island, and while walking along a beautiful ocean beach comes to a couple of locals sitting in the sand, chatting. They have their fishing poles and a couple of fish beside them. The billionaire asks them, “Is it easy to catch fish?” “Yes.” “Why don’t you catch some more?” “Why?” “So you can sell them in the market.” “Why?” “So you can make lots of money.” “Why?” “So you can you can have free time to go an vacations to wonderful places.” “Why? . . . Isn’t this a wonderful place?” —

The resolution Spend More Time with Family is strange because it implies the resolver already has a good family situation, but they aren’t spending enough time with each other. Perhaps they are too busy with work, making money to support the family, or too busy with other chores to actually participate in interactive time with one another, or being with the others physically, but just watching TV.

One of my fondest memories of yesteryear, about 1962, was early Christmas morning with my mother’s parents out in the new farmhouse. At some signal, I don’t remember what it was, everyone started doing household chores. So there were my Grandparents about age 80, and my mom and her four siblings and their spouses all in their 50’s, and their kids of various ages all instantly doing menial household chores. Even the littlest kids were doing something. It was all joyous fun. In five minutes the whole place was perfectly clean, and we sat down and chatted. We were a team! It was a wonderful feeling!

Doing productive things together is the best of family life.