As I get older, I find myself reflecting on my past a lot more. One thing I tend to always remember growing up was having family meals together. They happened a lot more when I was younger than when my brothers and I got older, but they still happened regularly even as we grew up. These were times we were just together, as a family.
I also remember the vacations we went on together as a family. We didn’t go on these elaborate vacations, but we would visit family members and grandparents regularly and sometimes go on nice vacations. As I reflect, it wasn’t about the place we went, but that we did this together, as a family.
These are just 2 moments that I remember quite clearly. Our family made time to do things together regularly.
Now, as a father of 4 running around from event to event, I often reflect on my childhood and think, how can I make my family a priority and not just get sucked into the chaos that happens quite naturally? Sure, we live in different times than when I grew up, I get that. But that doesn’t mean that I have miss important family time just because times are different.
So what can we do to make our family time a priority in a fast-paced world we live in? Here are some ideas that you could incorporate:
- Pick a night a week that is family night. The reality is we are getting pulled into so many different directions with different activities and obligations. However, hopefully there is at least one day during the week you can make it a family night and do dinner together and just be in the same house at the same time together.
- Pick a time of the day to do “family time.” It doesn’t have to be long, but maybe in the evening time get everyone together to process the day, make everyone aware of family matters or the day ahead, and pray together. I do this together with my kids (1 in elementary school, 1 in middle school, and 2 in high school) around 9:30pm each weekday night and later during the weekends. It’s simple, but it brings us together all at once to talk.
- Go out to eat as a family once a month. Maybe you don’t have a free day regularly during the week to do a consistent night together, but hopefully you have one day a month where you could do a night out. For me, growing up, we didn’t go out a lot to dinner. However, when we did go out it was special. It wasn’t “special” because we went to fancy restaurant, but it was special because we didn’t do that all the time. It created a memory for my brothers and I with my parents that was nice.
- Do a Family Game Night. Just like a dinner out, maybe you can do a game night with together once a month where you are having fun together. Sure, teenagers may roll their eyes and get annoyed about having to spend time with family, (that is normal, by the way) but deep down inside, they will enjoy it and it will be a memory for them down the road. Play a board game or trivia game or even if you have a video game console, play a video game together, taking turns. Adults may not be as good as kids at video games, but it is fun for kids to see their parents playing them.
- Make a family vacation a priority. My vacation time is usually taken up these days by my girls tournaments or competitions that take us out of town. However, I have made it a priority that one week during the year we go on vacation together where we are on vacation from work and sports. It’s just us enjoying time together and over the past few years we’ve developed some nice traditions when we go away on vacation.
At the end of the day, as I reflect on my childhood, what stood out to me was not the practices or tournaments I participated in. It was those times I spent with my family doing special things, making memories together. That is what I want for my family today and I believe that no matter how busy your schedules are, there are things you can do and maybe even adjustments that can be made so that you make your family time a priority.
What are some ways you make family a priority in your house? Share your thoughts below.