A Springboard for You

For a better life and a better eternity

Meaningful Together Time (an excerpt)

Built by the Lord

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If you didn’t read last week’s A Springboard for Your Family Life, check it out for the first part of this chapter on “Keeping the Family Together.” Click the link below.

The Great American Struggle

Meaningful Together Time

let me make one thing perfectly clear. To my knowledge, there is nothing wrong with any of the activities mentioned in the previous section in and of themselves. The answer to the problem is not necessarily to end all extra-curricular activities (though some may take that approach). The point is, with so many opportunities waiting to take each family member away from the family unit, we have to be on our guard to preserve family togetherness.

There is only one way to do this. We must carve out and schedule meaningful family together time. Further, we must not buy into the modern mumbo-jumbo saying, “It’s about quality time not quantity time.” There is not a single person out there who can teach us how to prefab quality time into fifteen minute chunks no matter how many books you by with questions to stimulate “meaningful” conversation. Quality time is the result of quantity time. There is no way around that.

Deuteronomy 6:7 provides some interesting insight to quality time. I recognize this passage talks about the Israelites passing the Law on to their children. We typically use this passage, rightly so, to discuss passing the gospel on to ours. However, let’s look at it from a broader base. the verse says, “You shall teach them diligently to your sons and shall talk of them when you sit in your house and when you walk by the way and when you lie down and when you rise up.”

These Israelites were able to have quality time, passing the Law to their children because they spent time sitting together in the house and walking together in the way. They had time together when they got up and before they went to bed. do we take that kind of time together with our families?

We need to make time for the whole family to sit together in the house. Meal time is a great time for this. However, there ought to be other times as well. By time together, I do not mean time in the same house, but each in separate rooms. There needs to be time when all the televisions and computers are turned off, when all the phones are in the cradles and Mom, Dad and the kids are together.

Many of us wonder, “What on earth is there to do if we have turned off the tv and computers?” Read a book together and discuss what happens. Visit with one another the same way you would if you had company. Discuss what has happened in your individual lives that day. Ask each other for advice. Confide in each other. Play games together. A lot of life’s lessons can be passed along over a game of Yahtzee or dominoes.

let me encourage you to resist the urge to make all of your family time movie time. Watching television is always an individual activity no matter who you are sitting next to. Each person is individually interacting with what is on the screen. No one is interacting with each other. When you do have movie time as a family time, make sure to discuss the movie together afterwards. What did you learn from it? What were your favorite parts? What were you least favorite? What did you think when so and so said such and such? And so on.

Of course, as Deuteronomy 6:7 directly states, you need to study God’s word together and teach God’s word. Look at the book of Proverbs. The whole book is a parent’s recognition he has to teach his children. Do not think sermons and Bible classes are enough to teach your kids to be faithful Christians. They are not and God never intended them to be.

Along these same lines, the next time you go to a group Bible study, prayer time or singing, have your kids stay and be involved. Don’t send them off to the play room, tacitly teaching them that spiritual things are too big for them. Even if they do not get to say anything or ask any questions, what a great opportunity your kids will have to hear adults discuss the Bible and how it impacts their lives.

One more opportunity for together time is working together. This is perhaps one of the biggest reasons we do not have time with family that our Bible counterparts had. Why did Mom and Dad have the ability to walk in the way with their children? They were going to the same places. When Mom was walking to the river with the clothes, little Susie was walking with her. When Dad was walking to the fields to plow, little Billy was walking with him.

We live in a different work culture. It is well nigh impossible to go back to that kind of work culture and I doubt any of us really want to. However, we need to figure out ways to work together as a family. Get the kids involved in yard work. Have them help you clean the house. Go together to someone who has a need and work together meeting the need. Visit the sick and shut-in together. Talk with each other as you walk in these ways. I guarantee you, the more of this time you spend together, the more quality moments you will rack up.

There is one more way the Old Testament demonstrated for producing family togetherness. In the Old Testament, we see memorials that set the Israelites apart as a group and prompted time to pass their faith along to their children. Consider passages like Exodus 12:25-27. God established an annual memorial to pas on Israel’s identity as His special people. When the family observed the Passover together every year, the children would eventually ask about it. There was quality time that came out of quantity time.

Certainly, it is good for you to have memorials of spiritual significance. However, we can broaden this concept, realizing family traditions provide family togetherness prompting quality time and meaningful interaction. Those traditions, whether they surround holidays, birthdays or any other aspect of family life, will provide a marker, causing your family to identify with one another.

Family traditions do not have to be anything out of this world. I know one family whose tradition is what they call “worm cakes.” It is essentially a bundt cake cut in half and pieced together to look like a worm. then it is decorated with colored icing. Oreos are crushed up to provide dirt. It is given jelly bean or M & M eyes. They might lay gummy worms around it to be its friends. Sometimes they use licorice sticks to make hair. Each one is decorated differently. These cakes were used on birthdays, holidays, special events. Amazingly enough these little cakes became so important, when this family’s two sons got married, guess what kind of cake they wanted for their groom’s cake. That’s right–a worm cake. Not much, just a family tradition providing great memories and togetherness.

Check out next Tuesday’s A Springboard for Your Family Life to finish up this little series from Built by the Lord as we examine how churches should act to help promote family together time.

October 14, 2008 Posted by | A Springboard for Your Family Life, Family Time, parenting, Uncategorized | , , , , , | 1 Comment