Skip to comments.Culture Challenge of the Week: No Time for the Family?
Posted on 07/24/2014 4:42:50 PM PDT by Kaslin
Do you know your family?
You may think thats a silly question. Of course we know each other, many parents would reply. We live under the same roof. We see each other daily. We go on vacations together. How could we not know each other?
Yet, in an important sense, many parents and their children are almost strangers.
The time many families spend together is crammed with wall-to-wall activities. Mothers and fathers ferry their kids feverishly abouta play date here, a practice there, not a moment to sparetethered by cell phones and sustained by meals on the run. You cant really know your children if all of your time with them is spent running to and fro in a frenetic whirlwind. Genuine intimacy is impossible under such conditions.
Of course, theres nothing wrong with activities per se. Nobodys saying kids should just sit at home. Involvement in sports, for example, is incredibly beneficial for childrenespecially for teens.
But its critical to stop and reflect on what might be missing in their livesthe most important physical thing to their development: you. Family time makes a huge difference.
Take something as simple as the family dinner. Sure, its nice, but who on Earth has time? The bottom line is, if you believe it is important (which it is), you need to make time.
How to Save Your Family: Schedule Time With Them
Back "in the day" when our now grown children were living at home, we designated nights when we would eat together and told our kids, Your friends are welcome to join us. This firm but inclusive directive made for many now-treasured evenings when we bonded with our children and their friends. I know in my mothers heart that the time, laughs, and discussions had a powerful impact on all of them. And they certainly did on me. And now that they are gone.....I am so very grateful for every minute we were together.
Just your being there also helps your children. A comprehensive study, drawing on data from the National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent Health and published in the Journal of the American Medical Association, notes that teenagers were less likely to experience emotional distress if their parents were in the home when they awoke, when they came home from school, at dinnertime, and when they went to bed, if they engaged in activities with their parents, and if their parents had high expectations regarding their academic performance.
It makes sense when you think about it. After all, if you are available for and nearby your children, even if you dont do anything in the conventional sense of the word your presence sends the undeniable message: I care about you enough to be here.
We know the importance of maintaining a balanced diet for good physical health. Its truly just as crucial, for the sake of our and our children's mental and emotional health, to lead a balanced life.
And how do we restore balance to our frantic family lives? Make a point of injecting some downtime into itbut actually scheduling it. Go for a walknot a power walk, but a slow one. Play a game together, preferably a board or card game, with everyone sitting around the table and interacting.
Realize, too, that not every activity must involve the whole group. Take that walk or play that game with one son or one daughter. Give everybody a turn. In time, youll find yourself having real conversations with the people who matter most. And dont neglect your spouse! A regular date can really help strengthen your marriage.
Its nearly impossible to overemphasize the importance of having dinner togethersitting down, away from the television, as a groupas often as possible. The potential it affords to impart lessons in courtesy, hash out problems, or just have a good laugh is unmatched.
Reviving this balance is also crucial to ones spiritual health. Its all too easy when every minute of our day is jam-packed, to neglect church and daily prayer. Big mistake. Only by slowing down can we hope to really hear the voice of God. Taking a formal retreat occasionally is a fine idea, but we also need the mini-retreats that God uses to recharge our batteries when we take time to talk to and visit with Him.
If youre feeling over-scheduled, look at your familys time and how its spent. Get together and discuss ways to cut back on outside activities and make more time for each other. One fair way to take more control of family time is to set the number of activities each child can do in a school year. Instead of track, drama, tennis, football, soccer, and horseback riding for each childleaving you the frazzled chauffeur struggling to fit everything inlet each child choose two or three activities for the year when school starts. And stick to it when the new seasons begin. In addition to lightening up your schedule, this method will also help teach your children about priorities and time management.
Its crucial that we make time for what is truly importantnot merely so we can fashion some pleasant memories, but so we can raise our kids to soar above the toxic culture and to become the men and women God intends for them to be.
Mom and Dad, you are vital. The culture wont tell you that, but the facts, your gut, and your kids lives testify to your power. Your opportunity to enjoy them when they are small and to shape them when they become teens will disappear before your eyes. Take it from a mom who knows.
Dont just give your family things. Give yourself. Their lives - and yours - will be far richer than you can possibly imagine.
Dump any and all subscription tv and watch the family talk to each other. Cable. Direct...Netflix...yes all...save $
I am in my mid 50’s and the WHOLE family ate Dinner together every night at 6PM, Raising my daughter by myself since she was 6, the 2 of us had Dinner every night together at 6:30PM, and to this day My Wife and I eat together EVERY night at 7PM.
But I also quit watching Television over 20 years ago with the exception of News and an occasional history or discovery channel show. I have not been to a Movie since they tore down all the Drive-Ins.
Are you kidding? Everyone in my immediate family is a big-time, ass-kissing Obama leftist. I’d rather talk to my friends at the bar.
I see SO many families sitting at tables together in restaurants, all of them looking at their smart phones and not talking. Amazing
Going to my dad’s birthday party on Saturday. That’s the black sheep side of the family so it’s always fun.
“Do you know your family?”
It’s a crucial question. IMHO one of the most important questions we ever face in a lifetime. My son is the greatest gift I’ve ever received from God, and I pray that I can be the best father possible for him, despite the many mistakes I’ve made in life.
My mother has a personality disorder, a narcissist, and as such truly doesn’t know me, my siblings, or my child. She can’t really help it, but every conversation I have with her late in her life now is sad confirmation of this. Knowing your children is essential, because as parents you are the mirrors that reflect back to a child the things about who they are that help them to develop a core of self confidence and self love.
So yes, take the time for what really matters.
Got ya beat...my Mom’s a bi polar, narcissist...and yes, what you said is very true...I wish I’d known it when I was in my 20’s. Lucky, my son turned out to be a good kid...
What I find frustrating is no time for cleaning up and clearing out. Too many other so called fun things to do.
How sad for your mother.
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