I wasn't aware, but I guess, family reunions are big this time of year. I just spent an amazing weekend with my sister and her family. Our families hadn't seen each other in a year since they helped us move to Arizona from California. I learned three vitally important lessons from being so far away from most of my family this past year. First, relationships cannot flourish without communication. You cannot develop, strengthen or grow a relationship without communicating with each other. You cannot let too much time go by without picking up the phone, typing out an email or writing a letter before you feel disconnected from your loved ones. Second, relationships are built much easier, faster and deeper when that communication takes place in person. I never realized how much I missed this year by not seeing my nephew grow or having time to listen to my niece's sense of humor and intelligent banter. Third, relationships thrive more when the quality of communication is high even if the quantity is low. Even when we lived in California only a little over an hour away, we had precious little time to spend. Most of our get-togethers were for birthdays or some established EVENT where most of the time was spent serving and eating and cleaning up. In between there was some amount of discussion but it was often about logistics and major events. Very little time was spent making memories. This past weekend, we found time to be silly together. We found time to play and we found time to make memories. The communication was meaningful but also more relaxed and fun because this get-together was just for fun with no agenda but to connect. Take time to connect with your family at those reunions. The temptation is to talk about the major things in your life so you will be caught up with each other. I submit that those major things can be discussed in an email or a short phone conversation. I ask you to take the time at your family reunions to really connect with your family. Share the little things, the funny things, the silly things. That's what makes a memory and that's what you will both remember for a lifetime! Check out Art of Eloquence.com for eStudies that will help your family communicate more effectively!