I would consider myself to be pretty family oriented, especially now that I have my own. Unfortunately when I was a teenager I went through the typical “too cool” stage where my parents knew nothing, I wouldn’t be caught dead at home on a weekend night, and more time was spent with friends than family. When I moved (a whole hour away) to college I realized how blessed I was to come from such a wonderful family, who strives to please the Lord, truly enjoy each other’s company, and who, no matter what, will always love you and be there for you.
Although it still took me a few years to mature, it was around this same time that I started coming home on the weekends and happily spending Friday nights at home with my parents. Suddenly, they were cool. They had a funny sense of humor. They gave good advice. They had (have) an awesome marriage and their own little inside jokes. My, my how our perspectives change in just a few short years.
My wonderful parents.
Fast forward to now.
I crave family time with Cambre and LB, and with our extended families. Part of this is due to the fact that my love language is quality time, but part of it, I believe, is because my parents raised me to be a family oriented person. I absolutely love talking with family members, getting to know them better, showing them I care about our bond (and wanting them to care too), making memories with them, and reminiscing about times past. I love learning more about my grandparents who have passed away and hearing stories about my mom and dad when they were young.
Cambre and I want to raise LB, and any siblings he may have, to be family oriented. I realize through his teenage years he may not think we are all that awesome, but it is our goal and our prayer that as he grows he will understand the value of family.
I’ve been thinking about the different ways my parents instilled this value in me and I’d like to share them with you today.
1. Spend Time Together
This is huge! You can’t have a meaningful relationship with someone without spending any quality time together. It is my opinion that LB is not going to love and respect me when he is older simply because I am his mom. I believe he will love and respect me because I have put the time into our relationship and I have nurtured it through the years. Growing up my family spent a lot of time together. We ate supper as a family, we played outside, we always rode together in same car, etc. My parents made it known to us that we do things together as a family.
2. Be There For Each Other’s Accomplishments
When I was in seventh grade my sister was a sophomore in college. She was in homecoming that year and my family was, of course, going to watch her during the coronation ceremony and the homecoming parade the next day. Several of my friends wanted to go do something else the day of the parade and invited me to join along. I pitched the idea to my mom, but she turned me down stating it was the same day as my sister’s parade and I needed to be there for her. I was mad! So mad! And if I remember correctly, I’m sure I made it known that I was mad, but my mom didn’t bend. Looking back, that taught me a valuable lesson. It taught me that you need to consider what your presence will mean to someone. It taught me that sometimes there are things you may rather go do, but supporting a family member and celebrating their victories is more important.
3. Get Creative – Don’t Buy Love
I asked my mom what she and my dad did when we were little to instill family values in my siblings and I and the first thing she thought of was this: get creative with how your family has fun together. You don’t have to have a ton of material things to have a good time. I can remember, on more than one occasion, my brother and I slipping pillow cases over our heads and marching around the house singing a made up song. Free entertainment, people. It just takes a few pillow cases and a little imagination for hours of fun.
4. Limit TV Time
Another thing my mom thought of was keeping TV’s and/or video games out of our bedrooms. We only had TVs in the living room and family room for the majority of the time when we were growing up. When we got older I remember my brother and I had them in our rooms, but by that time we still didn’t watch TV in our own rooms very often. We also didn’t have cable or satellite TV. Just the basic channels for our house!
5. The Family That Prays Together….
We’ve all heard the saying “the family that prays together, stays together.” It is absolutely true! My parents made attending bible study and worship services a priority. Nothing came before it – When the church doors were open, we were there. Worshiping the Lord as a family and talking about biblical things creates a bond in a family that is so special.
So there you have it! A few ways to raise family oriented children. Cambre and I have the goal of raising children who value family time, and we plan to implement each one of these points. Were you raised in a family oriented home? What did your parents do to teach you that family is important?