This post was shared with us by Brad Lemon of Victoria, Australia. We hope it inspires and motivates you to continue levelling up in life, just like it has done for our team. Enjoy :)
Engaging Teens in 2014

How many times have you found your mature family sitting around a room with their heads buried in their phones or laptops?

Let’s be honest: the days of sitting around the dining table once a week and telling stories about family history have nearly gone. Thus, I had to find another way to communicate our family stories in an easy and engaging way.

Indeed, not an easy thing to do. Yeah, you can send short text messages (with many limitations), but group messages are hard to maintain. Emails are boring, ugly, and get lost in the shuffle. Snail mail is out of the question.

The answer I found turned out to be really simple: a blog. But not just any ordinary blog; for us, it soon became a form of family-centered social media.

Family Network: Activate!

The way we chose to start our ‘family blog’ was to use some free and easy tools - Evernote and! gave us the ability to make a password protected blog - and this was the key. Once I made our comments private (through Disqus), we had a closed system behind a password that we could use to communicate from any browser from both desktop and mobile.

"Our blog only has a tiny audience, but they are the most important people in the world - my family."

At first, I thought it would be hard to get people to check the blog every day, so I offered a small prize each day for a competition winner. Winning the competition was easy - it mostly involved being the first person to read the 'prize’ post and comment with the winning code.

As it turned out, I didn't really need to include an incentive... family members started checking the blog of their own accord, in their own time, all the time! Of course, the competitions have just been so much fun to that we've kept the tradition going. The best part is that if I don't publish enough, they tell me to hurry up!

Family Communication: Restored

The things we post about are random. We ask for jobs to be done, and we hear no moaning about it. Even our dinner plans are posted; this stops people from asking "What's for dinner?!" every night...

Through the family blog, everyone recognises that they're a part of a bigger picture. They can look at the posts, and understanding that the job they do is important, then do their jobs without any protest. I must say, this is rather amazing!

We post about current events, personal projects, and a million and one other things that families need to communicate; politics, hobbies, pictures, planned outings (which are a huge success by the way).

Family History: Preserved

But the most important part to me is the family history. I do a regular post series called 'Stories from Dad', in which I discuss a part of our family history and how it relates to us now. So far, I've had great feedback in the comments which is both encouraging and inspiring.

This recording of family history is an important part of our family network. I know that even after I'm dead and buried, the family blog can live on. The family history I'm writing now will not be forgotten, and can be shared with generations to come! And with this family history, the kids have a chance to ask questions and have the answers recorded for all time. Maybe the history won't be lost, after all!

We have opened up a radical new channel in which to communicate as a family, but it really is working. The platform is a closed loop behind a password. Only people with the password can read the blog, and only people with access to the source can publish. I've moved away from Facebook; it’s not even close to private or conducive to the kind of meaningful communication we want to foster as a family - plus no ads!

To be honest, I feel that my work in the family blog is some of my best work of all. I've had enormous satisfaction sharing stories with my family. I am more motivated than ever to engage my audience and give them a reason to keep reading ‘our' blog. My family doesn’t demand this sort of dedication, but they deserve my best work.

Brad Lemon
27th June 2014