For most people in our world, especially the working ones, life is filled with activity. In order to provide adequately for the family, many parents work more than one job. To them it may not seem clear as to why spending time with the family is important.
Others are willing to make the effort but have no clue as to how to make it a worthwhile experience. So I will share with you five ways to do so while looking at the benefits of family time.
Spend time worshiping
There is no more precious time that is totally fulfilling and 100% beneficial than the time the family spend in worshiping the Creator. This can/should be done daily.
I have found that when I spend time at the beginning of the day worshiping the Creator, the day is less stressful. If I left them at home, I do not worry as to their safety, because I have committed them into His hands for His care and protection. And He is much more qualified at that than I can ever be.
Even if they have to go out for the day, I depend on Him to be with them wherever they go and to guide their every step. In their encounter with others, I know that He’s got their back better than any other bodyguard. I am confident that when they listen to His leading, nothing will come their way that He and them cannot handle together.
And what He does for them He will do for me all the day long. That’s the wonderful thing of having a loving, omnipresent God.
That early morning worship/devotional opens the way for God to work on your behalf in all areas of your life. He gives you favor with others and what was once very difficult becomes much easier. You will hear your family saying the same or a similar thing. This goes on to further enhance your worship sessions until it becomes an indispensable part of your day.
The experience bonds your family like nothing else can for it leads each person to look away from self and unto God. It increases love for each other and a willingness to please and forgive which redounds into a happier home where people enjoy being and angels love to dwell.
For a happy, loving, safe, peaceful home, spend time with God and the family each day.
Have some recreation time
In spite of a busy schedule, it is important to take time out for recreation. This enhances the body and mind and allows us to experience each other in a different setting.
The best form of recreation is that you get outdoors – in nature.
I would encourage everyone, as long as it is possible, take time to experience nature with your family. If all that is available is a park setting, then make that do.
If however, it is at all possible to get away from it all and go into the forest or a lonely area near a stream, lake or seaside, jump at the opportunity. At times, for safety you may have to do so in connection with other families, that’s okay. Do it anyhow.
When I was about 14 years old, I attended my first church camp. Since then, I have missed less than 10 camping experiences. It’s another opportunity to bond, to do different things together.
You leave the stove and fridge at home and you rediscover the way your parents and grandparents lived life. Get some smoke in your eyes, learn to chop wood, how to light a fire using the wood you chopped, even on a wet day. How to be more aware of your surroundings as you look out for creatures in their natural habitat who may not be very welcoming to you disturbing them. You find out that you can avoid them and they you, or at least you leave each other alone.
Get your family a tent and go out camping. Sleep under the stars with the crickets chirping and the frogs croaking you to sleep. Take some time and learn the different constellations in the sky and how to navigate by them.
If you love fishing, then fish; hunting, then hunt. Inform yourself of the safety precautions that are needful for each activity and teach it to your family so that you will have a fun but safe time.
Recreation is not always cricket, basketball, football or tennis though all of these can be engaged in and used to enhance the experience. Don’t be too competitive though, so that the happiness is destroyed because one person/family tries to win at all cost and gets upset if he/they didn’t. Use the opportunity to teach valuable lessons like patience, sharing, helping, giving, forgiving, self-sacrifice and any other that may become apparent.
Your family will love you more for it if the experience is fondly memorable and it will be talked about for years to come. A familiar theme would be; remember when……………?
Spend time together daily
There is one daily activity that the family should participate in outside of the daily devotional time or worship service, that is meal time.
There is something about eating together that draws people closer together. I cannot explain it but I know that a lot of people have, without even considering it, experience the joys of eating together that further establishes a relationship.
Businessmen use this frequently when they want to seal a deal. “Meet me for lunch at such and such a place”, they say. Of course, they add alcohol to the mix which is not always beneficial because of its ability to reduce the drinker’s reason power. Under such circumstances, a person may say yes when normally they would have said no. Other times, they say no when the correct response should have been yes.
So be careful when you are taken out for a meal in the middle of a business decision and alcohol is served.
Others do it for dates and some people turn down dinner dates because of the connotations behind them.
But the family spending time eating together is always beneficial to the entire unit. While eating – in spite of the etiquette that says do not speak with food in your mouth – discussions about the individual day’s activities can be carried on. Careful consideration can be given to the varied experiences and suggestions given or decisions made.
At the same time, I would caution that care be taken not to bring unpleasant issues to the table unless nothing can be done to avoid it. Upsetting issues tend to rob the stomach of the ability to properly digest the meal as the brain becomes more active in channeling a response to the issue presented.
So share the good events of the day and leave the tougher, more troubling ones for after the meal, as far as possible.
Remember to compliment the cook. If he/she was not up to his/her usual high stand still find something about the culinary experience to be complimentary about – and I’m not suggesting that you lie.
Communication is indispensable
This a most crucial aspect of keeping the family together and essential to ensuring that family time always is a time for growth.
Much has been lost as a result of poor communication. Either the sender did not encode his message properly or the receiver did not do a good job at decoding it. Since we spend so much time communicating via our devices, it is now so much more important that we be careful to communicate our message clearly. And filter out the background noise.
Some time ago, I sent a message to a friend via WhatsApp. The response was not in any way in harmony with the message I sent. What should have been a casual or friendly response was filled with anger and self defence. I was confused and asked about the reason.
It turned out that the person had been triggered by a small phrase in my message that reminded them of a negative experience that they had had. The memory blurred the fact that this was a totally different situation with a completely different person. I was blown out, based on something that I knew nothing about.
Whether communicating face to face or via our electronic devices, it is best that we be simple and clear when exchanging ideas. In the case mentioned above, I had to take some time and painstakingly explain my message, adding the thought that influenced how it was phrased. It was only then that the person calmed down and was able to deal with me on an amicable level again.
I would suggest, to maintain peace and love in the family and with anyone with whom you interact, if the message received appears to be negative, disrespectful, critical or not what you expected, ask for clarification.
This is better than assuming, responding negatively and ruining what was otherwise a good relationship. If the message is indeed negative, take time to find out why and what’s behind it. Operating from the principle of love, we should not assume the worse first up. Give the individual a chance to clarify.
You may need to spend some time diffusing the situation or having to apologize, but if that is what is needful to keep the love flowing through the family/relationship, the never be too proud to do it. There are tremendous rewards for the effort. And even if and when the effort is spurned and the person has no desire to reconcile – at the moment or ever – you will have the satisfaction that you had done your best to love them up now.
Even while preparing to speak to someone – it may be a rude co-worker or a family member – as we seek to promote and experience that love, carefully choose your words.
I used to be quite brash and straight forward. My thoughts as I spoke to a person was “it’s the truth and I’m not sugar coating anything to tell you the truth”; “if you don’t like it, deal with it and yourself”. However, experience has taught me that you can get across the same message much more effectively by carefully choosing non-abrasive words.
So today I use that old saying; “you catch more flies using honey than using vinegar” I recall two occasions among many when this worked for me.
When I was doing my degree, I had to go pay the registration fees. I was late and there was a long line. A friend, on his way out, whispered to me that one of the CSRs was being really nasty that evening. “Be on the alert” he said, “i just give her piece of my mind”. I smiled and assured him that I will get through with no trouble from her.
I did. When I got to her counter, I smiled – she frowned – said a happy good evening and with a cheerful voice, requested her help. She didn’t melt totally but she was not as hostile as when I approached her. She helped me complete what I had come to do and I left with a smile on my face and she a bit more self- controlled. It was worth it.
On another occasion, I visited the secretary of the department where I had to do a course. She was insistent that I could not do the course because registration had closed. I was insistent that I had to do that course at that time because missing it would take me into another year at school. She refused to sign me up for the course so I went to the lecturer herself who told her that there was room in the class so he would accept me.
Later on, I met her son who told me that she said that I was rude to her. She was offended that I went to the lecturer. I visited the office and apologized. After that, when ever I visited that office, there were pleasant greetings, a smile and effort made to help me accomplish my reason for visiting. She was happy and so was I.
Now, when we take a similar attitude into the home, apologize when needed, choose our words and clarify, wouldn’t our relationships be much, much more amicable. We don’t have to be abrasive or abusive to each other to get what we want. If we are, even if we get what we want, we lose. When we use love, there is a win win all around.
Isn’t that much better and more desirable?
Extended Family time
Have you ever come across a relative that your parents or immediate family never told you about? How was that reunion or getting acquainted experience?
Recently I had the privilege of meeting a relative for the first time, at a funeral service for another relative. My sister was the one who met her first and truthfully, I have no clue as to how they met up or went about determining that we are related.
It was an awkward experience though, more so with the present restrictions on social interaction.
Even prior to that, I attended a camp meeting that revealed the importance of knowing the extended family. I was a teenager at the time and met an attractive young lady there. We had a great time getting to know each other. No sexual stuff, just chatting.
About a month after the camp ended, she appeared in church with her family. I was excited and couldn’t wait for the church service to end. When it did, we met and chatted at the front of the church until it was time to leave. I thought that would be the last time that I would see her for a long time.
When I got home, I saw her parents’ car parked in front of our house. They had been invited to have lunch with us. When the lunch was ended our parents called us together and announced that we were related. As the reality sank in I was devastated. She and I haven’t spoken since then.
Such drama can be averted if parents would take the time to have those extended family reunions that would allow relatives to get to know each other. That way, there would be no intra relative “accidents”. At the same time, we continue to increase family and relationship bonding.
Spending time with your family
A happy family is always a great unit to meet. This can only be a reality when we take time to bond and there are different ways of bonding that will help the family grow tighter. This invaluable time with God is O so crucial for I think it sets up everything else to succeed.
The time spent together in recreation brings out aspect of each member that otherwise may not be seen. It also widens the individual’s and family’s horizon and understanding of the space we occupy and how to blend in to it.
Even in the outdoors, we can have that family meal, that time when we share the events of the day, laugh at some things, pass around advice and even show solidarity.
To do this, we must know how to communicate effectively. When this art is mastered, we will have that peaceful loving atmosphere where no harsh, crushing words wound the soul. People would leave the table feeling uplifted and that would extend way into the after meal activity.
And then there is the extended family. Get that family reunion going and meet all those adults that you haven’t seen for a long, long time and the young ones that you have never met. Let your children get to know their relatives so that there would be no “accidental” relationships formed.
As we love them up now, use each opportunity to make the moments memorable.
Share with us some of the things you do or plan to do to make spending time with your family a super experience.
Please leave your comments in the space provided down below.