#1. Find Mom. (click here for part 1.)
Many homes today are like college dorms: people live together, talk when there is a problem, and watch TV together. They morph into acting more like roommates than a family. When was the last time you sat down as a family in the same room (without a TV on) and just talked?
One of the reasons some kids don’t respect parents, don’t find family all that important or embrace their parent’s faith is because they don’t have a deep sense of commitment to each other. There isn’t a lot of closeness, connection or feeling part of a…tribe. Instead, many teens find friends more important. Why? They have deeper bonds with them. It’s sad, but true.
We had a young adult friend over for dinner that has a brother very close in age. As we watched our two boys playing together outside, Carrie, my wife, ask him, “Do you miss those days of playing with your brother?” His response was sad. He said, “I don’t remember playing together. We were always too busy with our own friends.”
It is when we graduate from college and think about having a family of our own, we realize how important family should be and try to rekindle what remains of distant relationships, but we don’t have time to make up for a past of missed opportunities.
Our view of family is going to be how our children view their future family. The way we run our family is going to be how they manage their family.
A good friend of mine, Fred Jorgenson, told me that if his daughter wasn’t getting along with her sister and she wanted to go over to a friend’s house, he would say, “God gave you your sister and until you can get along with who God has given you, you better stay home and work on that relationship first.” Now that is parenting at its best! (They have four awesome, fantastic grown children.)
Let’s teach our children what it means to be a family: we stick together; we are here for each other; we love each other; we defend each other; we are the most important people in each other’s lives; God has given us to each other on purpose, for a purpose!
We have to cultivate this kind of bond within our own family. We must facilitate this connection with each other at a deeper level than they have with their friends. If we don’t, we risk losing their hearts. When we lose their hearts, or most of it, we lose our influence. One way we accomplish this is when the family sits.
The last prophecy in the Old Testament and one of the first things said about Jesus by John the Baptist in the New Testament was, “he will turn the hearts of the fathers to the children, and the hearts of the children to their fathers, lest I come and strike the earth with a curse.” (Malachi 4.6, Luke 1.17) With the help of the Holy Spirit “fathers will overflow with love, passion, and commitment to their sons and daughters, and the hearts of children will turn back to their fathers.” Rob Rienow (Want to read the stats (the curse/destruction) that follows when Dads aren’t connected with their children?) (click here.)
Connecting is vital if you want the hearts of your kids. Jesus invited the children to come to Him.
You will have to say, “NO.” to some things, even some good things. You will have to fight for time. Scheduling is important. Want to see someone’s priorities? Look at their schedule. What does your schedule reveal about your family?
This week was extremely over scheduled for us. There was something every morning and every night. This morning I declared, “Its family night! We are having dinner together and then we are going to spend time together. No phones, no internet and no friends are allowed to come over.”
Here are a few ideas to stay connected and keep family relationships strong as you sit:
o Do “Highs and Lows.” Everyone go around and say their “High” of the day and their “Low” of the day.
o Ask, “What’s one thing you learned today?”
o Follow up with them about their hobbies, “How’s soccer (or drama, music, etc.) going? What are you working on the most?” “What do you like the most?”
o Discuss family goals: “What do we want to accomplish as a family together in the next 6 months?” (fix something, build something)
o “Where do we want to spend our next vacation?”
o “How can we serve together as a family?” (Nursing homes, at church, neighbors, soup kicthens, etc.)
- Read a chapter from a great book that exemplifies the kind of character you want as a family and then discuss it. Email CarrieCronkhite@gmail for great suggestions.
- Schedule your next fun time as a family (play a board game, cards. Do something ALL of you can do together and interact.)
It doesn’t need to take hours. Make it a habit over dinner. It could be every other day. Even those of you who have little children, make this a habit now and the expectation will continue as they get older.
There is good reason Deuteronomy 6:7 says to talk about God, “when you… sit.” Which leads me to #3.
To be continued…