It’s a fact of life; unfortunately families can drift apart over the years due to a number of reasons. Instead of living in the same town, perhaps you’ve scattered across the country or to the other side of the globe. Or maybe daily life has just gotten in the way and the pressures of raising a family and balancing a career has kept you from keeping in touch as much as you’d like.
Thankfully, modern technology and social media networks are making the world smaller and ultimately, easier to keep connected to relatives – both immediate and distant, as well as those who live near and far."
It’s worked for me.
I've recently “friended” some relatives I haven’t seen since we were children on Facebook. Their updates on the site have informed me of engagements, births, divorces and hospitalizations that I wouldn’t have known about otherwise. A cousin I never knew existed contacted me on LinkedIn. And my children keep in contact with their far flung cousins via text, Twitter and other online platforms.
So why not take advantage of the convenience of today's technology to stay in touch or reconnect with long lost relatives. After all, there’s nothing like family, even if you haven’t seen or spoken to them in ages. Now the trick is how to get those relationships off the virtual and into the "real" world!
Here are some ways to reconnect with loved ones and bridge the distance, either online or off:
Write an annual letter.
Make it a tradition like the holiday letters many people send, catching everyone up on what’s happening in your lives. Ask others to do the same so you all stay up-to-date on family news.
Hold a reunion in a central location.
Don’t just invite the relatives you see often; extend the invite to those you hardly know so you can get better acquainted. Bring old photos, family mementoes, and stories to share. Let the old timers talk about the previous generations of the family.
Make good use of technology…even the old fashioned kind.
Pick up the phone and call someone you haven’t spoken to in ages instead of texting or emailing for a change, especially if you have good news to share. Gather the kids and video conference with the cousins they’ve never met across the country. There’s no replacement for hearing someone’s voice or seeing their faces.
Find a long lost relative.
One way to reconnect is to find out who’s who and start building a family tree. Start at geneology sites like www.ancestry.com, www.familysearch.org and www.familytreemagazine.com. Remember that cousin your mom used to talk about? Find her and get them together again. And encourage the younger generation to keep up the new connections.
It's never too late to reconnect with the ones you love and start afresh. Why not start now!