Building a strong family one brick at a time


By Donna Erickson

Signal Contributing Writer

Building a strong family is like building a house: We do it brick by brick, one day at a time. Here are some “bricks” that I try to focus on annually in January. I get inspired with these little reminders, as I adjust my thinking and goals for my family of five, and also for my extended family as it grows and changes with the seasons and the years.

It’s the little things that yield big results

It’s the little things we remember from childhood, like sledding with Mom, jumping into a pile of leaves with Dad or making pancakes with an uncle on a Saturday morning.

Make the ordinary extraordinary

Stop and take a moment with children to appreciate the joy and wonder of the world around them.

Look through a different pair of glasses

Everyone has a unique frame of reference. Encourage kids to see things from another point of view.

Share what you love with kids

Parents and other significant adults in their lives are kids’ No. 1 teachers. You’re an expert on something. Share your talent or hobby with kids.

Teach, but never stop learning

Learning is a two-way street. Don’t know how to snowboard? Having trouble with an app you just downloaded? Chances are your kids can help you out.

Make a mess a minute

Kids love a good mess. Let’s face it — mess is often the sign of a good time. Relax, and enjoy moments of discovery and creation.

Carry on traditions, and start your own

Traditions connect us through generations. It might be a special candlestick that comes out once a year, a recipe, a special way of saying “Thank you.” Share the old and create the new in 2021. 

Give the gift of time

The formative years matter. The moments you spend with the children in your life now will help mold them into giving, resourceful and caring adults. 

Donna Erickson’s award-winning series “Donna’s Day” is airing on public television nationwide. To find more of her creative family recipes and activities, visit and link to the Donna’s Day Facebook fan page. Her latest book is “Donna Erickson’s Fabulous Funstuff for Families.” 

© 2020 Donna Erickson

Distributed by King Features Synd.

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