Family Time

At a great playground in Beaufort, SC

A few weeks ago, I shared some thoughts about the Sabbath, and outlined an idea about spending time on Sunday afternoons (or Saturdays) together as a family, with each person getting a chance to pick the event of the weekend. Here's a recap of what we've done:

Week 1:  After a Saturday of Cooter Fest fun (and me taking a quick trip back to Greenville to pick up some furniture), we laid low on Sunday afternoon. Lunch at Clara's, including eating ice cream cones in a nearby park. Then, some family Wii time in the afternoon. Yep, my wife had a great (at least unique) Mother's Day.

Week 2:  Hannah's pick was to go to Beaufort. (Of course, we helped her with this, as she had never been there before. Now she wants to go back every weekend.) Walking by the waterfront, eating ice cream, playground, and dinner. Oh, and picking up a snack (and the next day's breakfast) at Dunkin Donuts on the way home.

Week 3:  Laid low again, since Joanna and I had a trip to and from Charleston for a wedding on Saturday. Lunch after church services, and games in the afternoon. This was also the first weekend that we had another housemate, as we have a college student staying with us this summer. The more the merrier!

Week 4:  Sender's pick. We let him skip his nap, which he thinks is a big deal, though he rarely sleeps during "nap time" anymore. We drove a golf-cart to Hardee's for milkshakes. Perfect for a hot Sunday afternoon.

As you may notice, much of our family time centers around food. You could say that eating is my favorite hobby, or maybe that gluttony is my favorite of the seven deadly sins. But meal time is a great time to connect and share. At the least, it's been shown that frequent family dinners decrease substance abuse in children. At the most, we have a captive audience where our kids can be a part of gospel- and family-oriented conversations.

What do we talk about? Sometimes it's just listening to their fun and wild thoughts and ideas. Sometimes, we tell them what God is teaching us. Sometimes I use resources that provide questions as prompters, like this from All Pro Dad.

Mentors with older kids repeatedly remind me that family time (including meals) gets harder and harder as the kids get older. That's why we are trying to lay the foundation now when they are young.


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  2. Thanks for the conversation starters. I LOVE family meal times. It was a big thing in my house as a kid, and it's something I've tried to preserve in my own family. Here's another great printable set of 100 questions: It's meant for someone who doesn't know the children to whom they're speaking, but there are some nuggets in there for parents to mine.

  3. Thanks for that suggestion, Beth. As you point out, many resources are best used by pulling out applicable nuggets, not be just relying on what is given to you.