This is a recent reflection from a mother about the importance of building in daily habits that help us connect our families to God and His hope for humanity.

My daughters just started ice skating this summer. Every Saturday morning they had class.

They started on the side of the rink, moving slowly, inch by inch. Gradually they let go of the siding and wobbled across the ice, their arms flapping up and down to steady their weight. I would watch from the side, holding my breath between falls. With the help of their instructor, two months later, they can now glide around the rink safely.

Early on, I realized the importance of supporting their ankles in their skates. I observed that their ankles would fold inward, making it painful and hard to stand on the ice, let alone move on their skates.

One class, I called them off the ice and coached them to try to stand straight on their blades. One of my daughters complained that it was hard to stand straight, her skates kept collapsing.

I knelt down to check out the situation and found that her skate was loose. The extra room between her skate and foot made it hard for her to control her skates. It was also rubbing painfully against her foot. I could see if I didn’t tighten the skate, she would end up with at least a blister, at worst a broken bone.

I loosened the laces. Then carefully, I adjusted each layer. I made sure her socks weren’t scrunched down but pulled tight against her skin, then I smoothed the tongue of the skate up against the top of her foot. Finally, I carefully pulled the laces tight, row by row, making sure that the skate was snug around her foot.

As I pulled the white lace, I realized, this is how it is with God. When we allow a gap to come between God and us, when we stop seeking to understand His principles and values, when we don’t take time during each day to connect to His heart and His dream, we become like the loose skate. We don’t contribute to the joy and excitement of gliding across the ice, rather we pose danger and even pain.

That is why building in daily habits to connect to God throughout our day is crucial to understanding our identity, but also our overall sense of well-being. Having habits such as prayer, a study of spiritual scripture, discussion around our life aspirations and family values are valuable avenues for every family and individual inside that family to touch on the most important relationship in our lives.

But these things are not automatic. Like everything important in life, they take effort and discipline to develop and maintain. But, like the important things in life, when we don’t consistently invest the effort, we are less happy and become disconnected from our purpose and identity, and source of life and happiness.

As parents, but also as husbands and wives, sisters and brothers, sons and daughters, we should regularly check in to see how our spiritual habits are doing and refresh them if need. Just like I do now every time before my daughter goes out onto the ice, I check her skates to make sure they are snug.

I tightened the last row of laces on the skate and asked my daughter to stand. She stood on her tightened skates and smiled, “It feels good!” She tried standing, now with no gap between her feet and the leather, her ankles stood steady. Happily, she pushed off onto the ice again.