(The Family Meal~you can hardly see Father in this old painting, but he is there behind the door)
(Some Of) The Best Gifts To Give Your Family All Year Long ~Part 2
Is your family being fragmented? If you searching for ways to strengthen hearts and minds within the four walls of your home, here is a mini 2-part series with some basics to consider:
Last week I did Part 1 on (Some of) The Best Gifts To Give Your Family. Included were:
- Arrange for meals together if at all possible.
- Worship together (with humbleness and sincerity before the Lord)
- Sing and make music together (even if you just sing along to a CD)
On to point #4…
We have some (actually, LOTS) of rocks in our field. We asked our friends, the parents of 4 boys (Ingrid wrote several posts on raising boys) if their boys wanted a job. They proved to be good workers; with encouragement and some proper incentive, all turned out to be really great help for their ages. They were game to continue, so we had them back for 4 or 5 hot sessions in the field (during the drought)… to pick up rocks! My husband and daughter worked alongside as encouragement.
My creative husband (in the white hat, of course) came up with their pay which consisted of 90% silver dollars and half-dollars. Below is a photo of a few of the old pre-1964 coins they received. I loved this idea since, not only was it something they will not soon forget, but it gave them something new to study for their home-education.
4.) Work together:
Cheerfully working together with your children from their youngest years in a variety of tasks builds sound character and an ordered outlook. It might take looking for and praying for opportunities beside what you can offer at home. Be creative!
Working towards a common goal affords you, the parent, a training ground to show your children how it’s done (even the smallest details are covered), whether cracking an egg into a skillet, planting seeds and bringing in the harvest, tending a sick child, the stuff of running a household, managing a property, or building a business.
Eventually, they will run their own household and be independent citizens. This is one reason our country is faltering; people don’t know what it is to really work and work ethic has largely been lost!
There should be satisfaction in a job well done. You even sleep better and stay healthier.
Work ethic is a biblical concept. Here it is talking about the church body, but also applies to a family.
“From Him (Christ) the whole body, joined and held together by every supporting ligament, grows and builds itself up in love, as each part does its work.” ~ Ephesians 4: 16 (NIV)
5.) Play games together:
Laughter is good medicine and makes for a merry heart! Children (and parents) must learn how to cooperate, and to be good sports, winning or losing.
Two wonderful, engaging games are Dutch Blitz (I personally LOVE Dutch Blitz, because it makes my aging brain synapses grow~ I just feel younger!)~
…and Settlers Of Catan (which is fast becoming another favorite!)~
You have probably heard the old phrase, ‘The family that prays together, stays together!’?Well, I think it is also true that ‘The family that plays together, stays together.’ Consider designating a family game night, and instead of your kids wanting to leave for entertainment when they get older, they will want their friends to come to your home. You can help them through the difficult and dreaded ‘teen’ years by making your home the place to be!
10 “Must-Have” Family Board Games: A helpful site to get informed on great family games out there!
6.) ‘Rough-house’ from when your children are little and teach self-control:
Our young men still love to play a quick game of touch football with their dad before dinner if the weather permits, but it all started when they would regularly get on the living room floor and ‘wrestle’, usually with him, but sometimes with Aunt Tammy and sometimes with me. Here they are many years ago playing with Dad and their cousin.
It used to be called ‘rough-housing’. There were definite boundaries, and they learned a lot about respect of others and how to control themselves and their emotions. I am so glad my husband helped me to see that it was a valuable thing, and looking back to my youth (in the 50s and 60s) most children rough-housed. It was a normal part of the family life of my friends.
My son pointed out an excellent article on The Importance Of Roughhousing With Your Kids that made me include it here. (Note: I don’t agree with everything in it, but it gets the point across pretty well. The video at the bottom shows you what NOT to do; this is NOT something they are teaching, OK?).
Brett and Kate McKay write, “Roughhousing also teaches children about taking turns and cooperation. You might not recognize it, but when you horse around with your kids, you’re often taking part in a give-and-take negotiation where the goal is to make sure everyone has fun. Sometimes you’re the chaser and sometimes you’re the chasee; sometimes you’re pinning down your kids and other times they’re pinning you down. Your kids wouldn’t want to keep playing if they were constantly on the losing side. Everyone has to take turns in order for the fun to continue.”
That is called Social Intelligence, and children need to develop this in order to feel like they fit into their world! I wonder if there would be less children become aggressive or, conversely, reclusive if they had normal healthy rough-house play starting as toddlers.
I wrote on Raising Masculine Boys, hopefully capturing some of what I’m trying to say.
7.) Why not turn off the TV or the computer and read great books together:
When it comes to sharing a book with young children, reading aloud seems the natural thing to do. They can’t read the words on the page, so you do it for them. Once young readers become independent, though, we sometimes forget that they still enjoy – and can also benefit from – listening to you read.
In an article by Charlotte Mason, who originated a term for the kind of books children need, these books were described as “living books”, firsthand sources, classics, books that display “imagination, originality, and the ‘human touch’.” Many times they teach an academic concept in a fun and engaging way. Living books teach about life, character, and the human spirit.
(Source: my post Fatherhood~ Teach Them Diligently)
Instead of trying to list books for you, I am sharing this excellent resource for you to help you build your own library of living books. They are the polar opposite of a dry, boring text book.
In Read for the Heart–Whole Books for WholeHearted Families, Sarah Clarkson’s “book on books” helps you know what your children should read and when! Her lists of age-appropriate picture books, Golden Age stories, children’s fiction, imaginative literature, historical fiction, spiritual works, poetry, books on nature and the arts, and more will start your youngsters on their own lifelong journey of reading from a Christian worldview.
“If you then, who are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father who is in heaven give good things to those who ask him!” ~Matthew 7: 11
Can you add some ways YOU bring good gifts to YOUR family?
Thanks for reading!