OK, here is the rest of the list. (See my previous post for the 1st five.) My wife and I actually came up with this list while on a drive and we just started talking about what every family needs. So this is a collaborative effort.
6. A funny relative. Key word – acceptance. Every family has at least one relative who is just fun to be around (and maybe just a bit of a character). I have a favorite uncle named Kack who once transported a body of another relative from Texas in his Suburban, so he could be buried in Oklahoma (and I got to do the funeral). I wonder sometimes what would have happened if he had gotten pulled over by the police and they had noticed the body. These are all people that God made and that God loves and I wonder if he wants us to learn patience and kindness, and he wants us to love them as he loves us. Our family loves Kack.
7. To Play Games. Key words – following the rules; learning how to win and lose; playing fair; interaction away from the TV; and just plain old having fun. Board games allow us to communicate face-to-face, and a lot of effective communication goes on between the roles or spins of the wheel. So why not turn off the TV and have a family game night every so often and have some fun? Remember dads, you don’t have to win.
8. Waffles on Christmas Eve. Key word – tradition. Many years ago, we started a waffles on Christmas Eve tradition and we love it. Families need traditions – things they do year in and year out that add meaning and stability. It may be going to the cemetery on Memorial Day, or going to the lake on the 4th of July, or watching “It’s a Wonderful Life” on Christmas. It is never too late to start a new tradition.
9. A Pet. Key word – responsibility. Kids need a pet. They need to learn how to take care of another living thing. They learn how to love and care for one of God’s creatures. Parents, it’s OK if your house gets a little dirty with a pet around. Your kids will learn so much more – love, responsibility, and work.
10. A Large Kitchen Table. Key words here are safety and love. Families need to eat together, and often. Research studies affirm that kids who eat with their families over 7 times a week do better in school and succeed in life. Families connect in a positive way as they sit around the table. It often becomes less about the food and more about building relationships and getting caught up with everyone’s lives. You won’t remember the individual meals, but you will remember the good times you had gathered around the family table.
11. A Church Home. (OK, I added one more.) Obviously, the key word here is God. Good things happen when you consistently connect with other believers and come together to worship. You learn to serve others; you learn to give; you learn God’s word and how to live in this world. We learn that it is not all about us. We get the “big picture” – love God and love your neighbor. The family that prays together, stays together. The church is God’s idea; find a good one and stick.
So there you have it – “Ten Things a Family Needs” plus one. How does your family stack up? What would you add to this list? Parents, why not call a family meeting and start doing some of these things? The place to start is with your family and the time to start is now.
“Living by Grace”