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   Family Times

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Effective Parenting:  Stewarding Your Little Blessings
Legacy Lifestyle:  Is Your Life Half-Empty or Half-Full?
Your Future:  Are You Who You Want To Be?
Family Life:  How Strong Is Your Family Life?

Other designed family times should be purposeful as well. Although we fail often, Dr. Richard Ross gave us a target to shoot at, and it sticks to this day:

  • Daily prayer together
  • Weekly family Bible/worship
  • Monthly family service/volunteer
  • Yearly missions trip

What top three “Time Drainers” in your life are limiting time with your family?

The Weekly
When the kids were younger, we had once-a-week “Family Fun Nights.” Instead of just plopping in front of a Disney movie (although we did that too occasionally) every week, we would try to do a regular Family Fun Night. Heritage Builders has some incredible materials that will help you build a great family night. The Introduction to Family Nights Tool Chest is a great place to start.

Begin to find out what your children’s “bents” are and get into their world. I cover this in more depth in Ease the Squeeze, but here are some ideas:

  • Ride bikes together.
  • Walk together.
  • Play sports together—throw a baseball, shoot some hoops, play ping pong.
  • Do yard work together, but make them games and races.
  • Do chores together.
  • Play board games.
  • Talk
  • Museums
  • Concerts
  • Plays
  • Church
  • Volunteer work
  • Date nights—walks, hikes
  • Participating in your childs activities—practices and games


Connection Points

  1. Passion play: One of the absolute best ways to get plugged in or connected is to join their world, their passions. Their passions change; change along with them. Then they will listen to your five-minute pulpit message. Without the relationship, forget it.
  2. Fishing: Seize the moment. I am not a fisherman, but I have heard the saying “The best time to fish is when the fish are biting.” Hmmmm. That was not a rocket scientist they were quoting. But when it comes time to connecting with the kids, you cannot always calendarize a good discussion. When you want to talk, they often are tired or worn out, and vice versa. If they are talking, you better get to fishing!
  3. Get God Times: Get God in the middle of your connection times. You will find common ground there most of the time. This is easier if you start it when they are young, but the kids know that several times a week we will get out the Bible in the living room, read a devotional, memorize a verse, and pray. This also shows the kids what is important in life—prioritizing.
  4. Hostess with the Mostess: Let your house be the one where kids want to hang out. Pay for the pizza, the donuts, the movie, etc. Get to know their friendsYou get to know people when you spend time with them. If you think of your high school and college friends, you were probably greatly influenced by who you hung around with. It is an imperative to get connected with their friends.
  5. Have a sense of humor: As parents, we often get so focused on the to-do list, the homework, the chores, and the discipline that we are trapped in this mindset. Levity is a good way to connect. I am not talking about a “best-friend-buddy” approach, but ensure that you smile and add some humor to lighten the tension and stress around the house. Work on the relationship before working on the “list.” Listen. Engage. Laugh. Then talk about the hard stuff.
  6. Be There: Often, a word doesn’t even need to be spoken. Be in the crowd. Don’t miss the game or the performance. Smile and wave from the stands. No matter how small or big it is, it is important to them—even if they say it isn’t. Sometimes you might have an issue arise that prevents your being there, but attend as many events as you can. Take a picture. Capture the moment. Smile!
  7. Teddy Bear: Even if you are not the hugging type or never received affection as a child, giving a hug is so very important. It is an unspoken form of communication that is so critical between a parent/child and spouse/spouse. Human beings thrive on appropriate touching, and it definitely affects your relationships. Numerous research studies show that we all need “touch” and that regular touching leads to better emotional health and even more positive intellectual and physical ability and growth. A hug is good medicine! I ensure that my kids and wife get an overdose.
  8. Say it!: Go ahead say it if you dare. It is amazing to me the number of men I talked to who can never recall their father’s telling them “I love you” very often. I have personally made the commitment to tell my spouse and children every day that I love them. Even if we have had a disagreement, I find that hearing the words verbalized helps me process the fact that I love them regardless of the struggle we might be going through. Say those three words, and say them regularly!
  9. Affirm: Although everyone likes a winner, the most important time you can personally affirm your children is when they are struggling, when they have just failed, or when they have lost. Affirm your love for them. Affirm your belief in them. Nurture and support them.
  10. Teach: Everything we learn should be given away. As a parent, you have a unique opportunity to teach and train your children. You have a short window of influence, and that foundation is mostly built before your child becomes a teenager. The focused, prioritized time you spend with younger children or grandchildren is monumental. Teach them morals, teach them God’s Word, teach them to pray and worship, teach them obedience, teach them a disciplined life, teach them a strong work ethic, teach them priorities, teach them right and wrong.
  11. Serve: Serving is so rewarding. Give your time away. It is a dual benefit—to you as a parent, but also the connecting with your kids in a common serving action. You are downloading a life priority and giving to a bigger cause together as a family.

    The importance of giving is the benefits it brings not only to the receiver but also to the giver. Research indicates that it might indeed be healthier to give than to receive. A recent study found that “mortality was significantly reduced for individuals who provided support to friends, relatives, and neighbors.” During this five-year study of older married adults, those who gave their time and support to others lived longer than those who didn’t.”

Read Matthew 25:31–46. Read Proverbs 14:31; Philippians 2:3–4; James 4:17; and 1 John 3:16–18.

Many tools to help you are available in A Lasting Legacy.


Future Foundation Builders
P.O. Box 3764
McKinney, TX  75069
E-Mail: doug@futurefoundationbuilders.com


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