Build a Family Team to Win in Life
- Friday, February 25, 2005
Your family is meant to be a team that works together. As you practice healthy habits together, you'll help each other win in life.
Here are some ways you can make your family a winning team:
• Read together. You can create a team huddle of safety, fellowship, love, and rest from life's business when you read with and to your children often. Reading is fundamental to children's academic success and personal development in life, and reading the Bible is fundamental to their spiritual development. Find age-appropriate books to read together, and use some of them for devotions. Find the best time for your family to share devotional times together and schedule them regularly.
Make devotions fun, simple, clear, and interactive. Illustrate spiritual truths using stories, questions, or quizzes. Adapt your material to meet the needs of children at different ages. Combine information and application, encouraging every family member to act on what he or she has discussed during devotional times.
• Eat together. The time your family spends eating meals together is some of the best time you have for engaging in meaningful conversations with each other. Strive to enjoy each other as you enjoy your food. Plan to eat at least one meal a day together whenever possible; choose the meal during which your family can have the most time together (for most families, that's dinner). Create a simple format for sharing the day's activities with each other. Don't interrogate anyone; just gently encourage each family member to open up about his or her day.
As a parent, model what authentic, vulnerable communication looks like to your kids. Be sure to share at more than just a superficial level. Get to know your family members' schedules and the unique demands they face during the day. Then pray for them and let them know you've been praying for them during your day. Remain consistent but not legalistic with your schedule of meals together.
• Play together. Realize that making time for play is worthwhile because it can bring increased health and happiness to your family. Know that when your children ask you to play with them, they're asking for the gift of your attention. Be responsive by budgeting at least a little time for play into each day. Use the time you all spend playing to teach character qualities you'd like to build in your children - attributes like honesty and teamwork.
Try to design games in such a way as to make it fair for everyone. Remember that each family member has different levels of ability and strive to make games fun and challenging for everyone playing. Focus on camaraderie instead of competition.
• Work together. Understand that work pushes your family in the same direction for a common good. Identify projects that require teamwork, like painting, yard work, or cleaning out the garage. Then give everyone a meaningful assignment and cooperate. Make the work as fun as possible. Teach your kids the importance of doing their best work even when no other person is watching, because God is always watching. Help each family member use the time to discover abilities and develop skills.
After the work is done, celebrate somehow - perhaps through a dinner out or a small ceremony to christen your completed project.
• Worship together. Remember that whether or not everyone in your family feels like going to church on any given Sunday, there's something powerful about just being with other people in God's family. It keeps your family exposed to faithful living. So make it a priority to worship God every Sabbath day in church - either your local church when you're at home, or another church when you're on a trip. Do whatever it takes to find the right church for your family. Make it clear that your family will not debate whether or not you all worship together on Sundays (or Saturday evenings).
Set apart the Sabbath and make it holy by refraining from unnecessary work focusing on Christ together. Strive to model authentic, sincere worship so your kids can see what that looks like. Help your children worship from where they are in life. Give them opportunities to participate in the adult worship service sometimes, giving an offering, taking communion, etc. Identify things that your family members are giving more attention to than they are to God, and get rid of these idols. Make sure that God is truly your family's top priority - not sports, the computer, work, etc.
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