When my children were very young I had the opportunity to talk to my older cousin, Ingrid, whose three boys were teenagers and young adults.
I was impressed by how affectionate and close all of the family members were. So I asked her:
“How do you do it?”
She said, “Just talk. Them talking, me listening. Me talking, them listening.
Talk about your day,
talk about what bothered you,
what delighted you, what you learned,
what you’re currently reading, what you wonder about,
what you long for.
Ingrid also said, “Do stuff together: projects, games, sports, trips, etc.
She gave me this sage advice nearly thirty years ago. I’m sure she hadn’t envisioned a day when techy stuff would take over this culture.
Sometimes I long for the good old days when the only form of communication in the house was the phone on the wall, and a pen and stationery.
Not that cell phones and ipads are bad. It’s wonderful to have so much info at one’s fingertips. And to have the safety and convenience of reaching our loved ones by phone where ever we are.
But these blessings sure insulate us from others.
Here are a ten suggestions for young families raising kids:
1. Have meals together, and talk. No Tech stuff or TV allowed.
2. Have your kids’ friends over and let them play in and outside the house.
3. Read to your kids. Talk about the story.
4. Play with your kids, and tell funny jokes. Talk.
5. Pick one after-school activity a week per child. One. Your child will be less stressed, and so will you. Talk about why you’re doing this.
6. Limit your children’s time on cell phones and TV. Talk about why you’re doing this.
7. Bring your kids along with you during your activities. Everything you do is a chance for them to learn about the world and about civilized community. Talk about why you’re doing this.
8. Do volunteer activities together. (This includes chores around the house.)Talk about why you’re doing this.
9. Get to know your child’s teacher(s) and stay informed about EVERYTHING he/she is learning. Talk about why you’re doing this.
10. Pray together. Talk about what the Lord means to you.
You’ll be glad you did these things early on, because once your child’s a teenager, the habit of communication is likely to continue.
It’s easy to let other influences take over your child’s life. But bear in mind that most of our culture’s problems can be boiled down to this:
1. No relationship with God
2. bad or no relationships with others.
Don’t let the world squeeze you into its mold. God is all about relationships, and we should be, too.
“Let the peace of Christ keep you in tune with each other, in step with each other. None of this going off and doing your own thing. And cultivate thankfulness. Let the Word of Christ—the Message—have the run of the house. Give it plenty of room in your lives.” (Col. 3:15, 16 The Message)