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Sunday, February 1, 2009

Activities to do

I'm sure we are all familiar with the sentiment we often hear from our children of "but mom..." followed by some lame excuse of why your children can't attend church, a special function or some family activity. I myself heard my share of this over the recent Christmas holiday's. Finally, losing my patience, I informed my 13 year old son that he was definitely going to the Christmas eve service at our church and he would be sitting with our family. Though I had to lose my temper to do it, I'm not quite sure at what point my point was taken, but he dutifully attended not only our church service, but another that some friends of ours had in a barn for the Christmas eve service.

I had to hide my smile when I overheard him talking to his brother and sisters that he really enjoyed both services. I made it a special point to thank all of my children for attending with the family. Often times in this day and age children get busy with their friends and peers and don't want to spend time with their family. Though I am not Mormon, I have often admired their "Family Home Evening" where they spend one night per week together as a family. I have began to instill this in my own children. We do not have a specific night scheduled in at present, though we do have what we call a "Sunday afternoon family meeting". At this meeting we will go over the week for everyone's schedule. Make transportation arrangements if need be for older children with doctor's appointments. Make arrangements for any other family things going on. We will also discuss things together that might be going on in one or more of our lives and how they affect others in the family. This is not a time to hold grudges or be critical, but rather a time of sharing or letting someone know that , "Hey, it hurts my feelings when I am ignored or people act like I don't matter". It is important to air these things and agree on a family game plan in order to circumvent hurt feelings or someone feeling left out.
We will oftentimes set up a date for a family "dinner and a movie" night and vote on a movie for that night. Or perhaps we will plan to play a specific game or just hang out together on a specific night. We try to rotate the ideas and take turns making the plans. Allowing a different person to choose the movie or make the plans each time helps us all to feel valued and appreciated. Strengthening our family relationship in this manner will provide for a long lasting memory with our children and gain us a lot of ground in the future. I hope that by taking the time to instill this in my children now they will see it as a special valued time with us as parents and cherish the memories of these times. It doesn't have to be long. Half an hour is often sufficient to go over a game plan and to plan a time we can all get together for an event. Making lasting memories of their childhood is a treasured memory to look forward to.

Whether you call it Family Home Evening, Family Night or just Our Time, these memories will help to strengthen our family and create long lasting memories of their childhoods.

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