The following are simple tips which have helped us in our effort build a strong family.
Pray together: This can be awkward at first if you (like us) were not raised in families which prayed together. But, leading our families in prayer is one of the most important things we can do.
Have regular devotions: Again, if you weren’t raised in a home where this was a normal part of your life together this can be difficult at first. But, our times of family devotions have given each of us an opportunity to ask questions and share our heart in a healthy way.
Encourage friendship among your children: I can’t emphasize the importance of this enough. Parenting in a way, which encourage the love, support and fun of friendship will build closer families. We learned early on from parents of (then) teens: “Your children need to be each other’s friends first.”
Serve together: Serving together is important. It teaches our children that life is about more than just ourselves or our family. The best way to encourage servanthood is to model it in our home, and encourage our children to follow suit. Little things like helping a sibling clean up their room, helping with chores not typically your own, among others can foster a lifelong attitude of service, and will naturally spill over into our community.
Support each other: This can be something as simple as dads and brothers attending dance recitals, or moms and sisters watching football games. Having our family in the audience cheering each other on is a great way to encourage unity and support.
Play together: In all of our deliberate efforts, it is important that we take time to play together. Family game nights, backyard bonfires, weekend get-a-ways or family vacations all are an essential part of not just building family memories, but of creating family unity.
Do not parent for the moment: This is a principle we learned from a teaching called “Growing Kids God’s Way”. In other words, no not ignore bad behavior or delay discipline because of inconvenience. Excuse yourself from company, leave the grocery cart in the isle, or slip out the back door of the sanctuary. Children need loving, consistent parenting, and also crave boundaries. Ultimately, bribing our children or ignoring bad behavior altogether only serves to compound the situation, making for a more difficult time down the road for all involved.
Raise children of purpose: Our children were created for a purpose. Our job as parents is to prepare our children to live it out! Psalm 127:4 says “children are arrows in the hands of a warrior”. The implications here are huge: our job ultimately is not to protect our children but to prepare them for their Kingdom purpose.
Know your children’s heart: Raising children of purpose requires that we know their hearts and passions. This necessitates obvious time. Spending time, playing together, serving together and praying together provides us the beautiful opportunity to truly know our children.
Put it on the calendar: It is easy to let our time schedule us instead of allowing us scheduling our time. If it is hard to make family time, write it into your schedule. Making time for those more important to you is essential to healthy family relationships.
Check back soon as more tips are being added regularly.