Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Quality Time; It’s What Your Family Deserves

Quality time; it’s what your family deserves. Picture a family standing in a circle, facing each other, holding hands; a father, a mother, and their children. Our goal is to be like this family; connected, both physically and emotionally. There are three simple steps we can take to achieve our goal. We must pray together, we must pay together, and we must play together.

Praying together is an incredible way to unify a family. We have prayed with our kids for years. We’ve made every mistake in the books, which has allowed us plentiful opportunities to learn and improve. The system we’ve developed uses 3x5 index cards, upon which are written the names of friends and loved ones for whom we pray. We pass out the cards in random order, and take turns praying through one card at time, moving in a circle, until we’ve prayed for everyone. We recently realized that we were praying for everyone but our core family, so we tweaked our system, and added a card for each of us. We all requested prayer for one character quality, and one current issue of concern in our daily life. This has yielded beautiful fruit. It is such a blessing to see our children praying for specific areas in the others’ lives. They are learning to intercede for each other, and bear one another’s burdens, thus beginning the shift to facing inward.

After we pray together, we must also learn to pay together. By this I mean that there is no substitute for working side by side. Our family accomplishes this by dividing the week into assigned days. Each child has two days of the week that “belong” to them. On their day, they have both privileges and responsibilities. This is the day they get to answer the phone, sit in the coveted seat, get the baby out of bed, etc. It is also the day they do dishwasher duty, help with meal preparation, and kitchen clean-up. There are many hidden blessings in working together. Most importantly, we’re instilling character into our children that they won’t learn any other way, and this moves our relationship to an even deeper level as we share the work it takes to be a family.

When the day comes to a close, we need to take time to play together. In our family, my husband reads aloud to us from a good book. He’s a great sport, reading Huckleberry Finn in dialect, much to our amusement! This is our favorite evening activity. We look forward to relaxing in the family room, sprawled all over the furniture and the floor. This is the height of enjoyment for us, but a family game of Rummy-Cube or Rack-O runs a close second! The interaction of playing together creates many amusing memories we will always share.

The picture of a family joined in a circle, facing each other, can be yours. The amazing chemistry of praying together, paying together, and playing together will yield a rich harvest of quality time, which, after all, is what your family deserves.