If you haven’t made a New Year’s Resolution yet (which I haven’t), or if you have already broken yours (which if I made one, I probably would have by now), or if you just want to try something new or intentional (which I do!), here is my suggestion for you: Family Game Night.
I know I am bringing back memories of those Monopoly marathons that ended in fighting and chaos. Or maybe sheer boredom. Within the first 10 minutes the bank owned everything you had and your so-called loving parents had no sympathy and bought you out of everything you owned in order to win the game themselves. Oh, the tears! Oh, the tempers!
Here is my suggestion: do not play Monopoly. But do play a game together. Uno, Sequence, Yahtzee, Apples to Apples, Catch Phrase, Settlers…something your family can play together and will allow you to still love each other after it’s done.
At our house, the latest, most-loved game is Creationary by Lego. Kind of like Pictionary, but instead of drawing a picture of your word, you create it with Lego.
This may not come easy. This might mean putting your competitive side behind you. This might mean reining in your loud-mouthed child and having an exasperated time enforcing the sharing and polite turn-taking. This might mean encouraging your spouse to put on the “I’m-not-bored-and-I-really-want-to-be-doing-this!” face. This might mean giving up an evening of electronics and TV shows and coming together as a family community. This might mean slowing down in the busyness of life every once in a while.
I recently read an article called The Top Ten Mistakes Parents of Christian Teens Make. While I don’t quite have teens yet, after reading this article and some of the “mistakes” out there to make, I thought it could probably apply to parents of children of any age.
I don’t love hearing about what I might be doing wrong. I don’t want to be doing it wrong. What caught my attention most was the point that often times the learning that a teen (or children of any age) will do is “caught,” rather than taught.
So…what is my child “catching” from me? Am I modelling the importance of checking Facebook and Instagram over real-life conversations with them or with God? Am I showing that the movies and TV shows I watch are more important than the here and now interactions I could be engaging in with them or in worship to God? No matter how many times I might tell them to use their manners or to pray or to read their Bible, what is it that they are going to remember about what I tried to teach them?
So, we are going to be playing a few more games, establishing a few more memories (hopefully fonder memories than my Monopoly mayhem!) and hopefully make a few LESS mistakes.