(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~Pt. 1
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:
Since it took my husband and I 19 years to bring a child into the world (after an abortion 36 years ago), I had a LOT of time to give some thought to what the BEST gifts to give children would be, and these were my choices:
1.) Arrange for meals together if at all possible:
Life can be a balancing act- work, school, budgeting, shopping, cooking, organizing, home maintenance, gardening, hobbies, and so much more. If you are homeschooling and/or care-giving on top of all that, things can seem overwhelming!
“A meal is about civilizing children. It’s about teaching them to be a member of their culture.” ~Robin Fox, anthropologist, Rutgers University
When it is a priority to sit down together, communication can flow, problems can be addressed, and stress can be relieved. Granted, it won’t always be relaxed and without bickering, but there is something about a shared meal ~ not some holiday blowout, not once in a while, but regularly, reliably ~ that anchors a family!
2.) Worship together (with humbleness and sincerity before the Lord):
Joel Beeke in How To: Family Worship (excellent reading) says, ”
“Don’t indulge excuses to avoid family worship. If you are tired, deny yourself out of love for God and your family. Even if you lost your temper a half-hour before family worship time, don’t neglect it out of false humility. Instead, begin family worship by confessing your sins to your family and seeking their forgiveness in the presence of God. As A. W. Pink said, “It is not the sins of a Christian, but his unconfessed sins, which choke the channel of blessing and cause so many to miss God’s best.”
Family worship will require some preparation. You should pray for God’s blessing upon that worship. Have your Bibles ready and a Scripture passage selected.”
3.) Sing and make music together (even if you just sing along to a CD):
If you have the ability to play an instrument, please pass it on to the next generation. If you don’t, don’t get stuck there! Ask the Lord to help you find a way to bring music to your family! Singing together and making music knits hearts together and creates common ground that can help carry us through the roughest, most trying waters.
In Germany during WW I, with shells exploding in the distance, young Dietrich Bonhoeffer’s family was known to make music and lift voices in worship several times a week, inviting friends to join in to gird up their courage and spirits. Years later, music with family and friends was still very much part of his life.
(the Bonhoeffer family 6 days before Dietrich’s arrest in 1943 ~ Source)
“Music… will help dissolve your perplexities and purify your character and sensibilities, and in time of care and sorrow, will keep a fountain of joy alive in you.” ~ Dietrich Bonhoeffer
One of the great joys of having children for me was sharing the love of music and enjoying music with them ~just as my parents, but especially my Dad, passed it on to me. We have one child who will usually go to the piano when needing encouragement.
You don’t have to be perfect, either, to enjoy making music. Just laugh a lot! Our young children were started with pots and pans and children’s instruments like the lap harp sitting on the couch on my lap at home around the age of 2! They also participated in a Kindermusik program for toddlers run by an elderly, but sprightly dear lady! Some day I’ll write about that.
Playing hymns and other pieces, both traditional and contemporary, can release stress and is one way to commit circumstances to God as a offering and prayer. We have chosen not to get an electronic keyboard and keep our regular one so we can still play during a power outage!
Gathering around a CD player years ago and singing along to hymns by Joni Eareckson Tada, John MacArthur, and the Wolgamuths grew us spiritually, and we memorized those rich words of doctrine. We also read the stories of those hymns as part of our church history curriculum.
When your kids grow older, who knows what they will find to do!! What a great way to keep your kids busy, eh?
“I have no greater joy than to hear that my children are walking in the truth.” ~3 John 1: 4
Stay tuned for Part 2… 🙂
Have a blessed weekend, friends!
Thanks for reading!