5 WAKE UP CALLS ABOUT QUALITY TIME WITH FAMILY

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I have a board (or seven) of Pinterest ideas of things to do with my family. I have girl-centered ideas. I have boy-centered ideas. I have 7-year-old ideas. I have 5-year-old ideas. I have ideas that involve cooking, involve board games, involve slime and involve finding the moments between the moments to pause and be.

And I bet you have seven of those Pinterest
boards too.

And yet, here we are. Still searching. And that’s
okay!

Maybe there’s not enough idea boards in the world
to quantify, structure, lead, nor inspire the time we spend with our
family—especially if we don’t even know why
we should seek more time with these lovable wildlings in the first place. (If
you’ve had my kind of day, and you’ve had to Google “how to get dried slime off
eyebrows,” then you, too, may be wondering why
we need to spend time together as a family. Frustrations run high as we’re
consumed with the mundanity of everyday life—and that’s okay. Just because God
gave us children doesn’t mean He made us all-knowing or all-loving. And that’s okay.)

Why Spend Quality Time With Family

Even on their dirtiest, loudest days—we love
them. With our dying breath we love them, with our pre-coffee morning grog we
love them—oh so deeply we love these gifts.

So wake up and enjoy them! Trust me, and God correct me, I don’t think He gave them to us to keep bleach-clean on display. I strongly believe that God wants us to enjoy His gifts, which includes our children.

Family of Four taking a photo

How to
Make Time for Your Family

You have 936 chances.

You have 936 weeks before your child turns 18.
That’s 936 Sunday afternoons. That’s 936 Friday nights.

And you get to pick how you spend each of them. But there is no 937th chance. By the end of their teen years, you are no longer the central influence on their character—their friends, their career goals, the mundanity of their own everyday lives will be their central focus.

Mom with two kids

There is no equation that I can give you that
spits out a number that says how much time you need to spend
with your family
. But what I can do is promise you that the equation
doesn’t run itself. You need to punch in the numbers of your life and pinch and
squeeze and make the time. Time is fleeting and it will fleet right past you if
you don’t grab it and pin it down.

So wake up and pin down 936 reasons, and
surprisingly you’ll find 936 hours.

What
Quality Time With Family Looks Like

This totally depends on you. If you have small
children, or teenagers (and if you do, I outstretch my heart, and may the
side-eyes fade and the deodorant be a plenty), how you spend your time together
as a family is going to be wildly different (hence, seven Pinterest boards).

There are a few things that I do believe are
universal for quality family time (this isn’t the moments between the moments,
I’m referring to the “Nope, we’re going to hang out together tonight” nights).
These nights include (wake up on this one because it’s a big one)—PRAYER!

Prayer for
Family

Oh, how the teenage eyes might roll if you’re not
used to doing this. Let them roll. And lead by example. Have a prayer for
family protection, have a prayer for family unity, have a prayer for peace in
the family, for thanksgiving—pray for it all.

Then chat about whatever your family needs to
address. Some people take this time to hold a family meeting to hash out details
and schedules and pickups and homework projects and the plans for the next 936
Sundays. Or take the time to check in on your family’s goals. Or listen and learn from your children—leading
doesn’t mean not learning.

The biggest thing you can pray for is God’s
blessings on your family, whatever they may be. As Christians, we know that
there are steps we need to take to receive God’s blessings,
so leading your family on the path through those steps is the best and most
valuable legacy you can leave them.

Bible
Verses About Quality Time with Family

Okay, I might have misspoken.

I might have an eighth Pinterest board dedicated to family-centered Bible verses that I have heard during worship services in the Iglesia Ni Cristo (Church Of Christ).   Here are some of my favorites:

Exodus 20:12
Proverbs 31:27-30

For all you single moms, single dads, widows,
widowers—for everyone whose path is winding in a way they didn’t predict, I do
believe you’ll find joy in this verse. It describes a woman who is strong and
providing:

What does
the Church Of Christ suggest for quality family time?

Inside the Church Of Christ, we hold what’s
called a Family Hour.
It’s super simple—heads of the households receive from their local congregation
a Bible verse to share with their family every week (hey, it takes out the
guesswork which is pretty awesome!). Then your family decides on when to spend
your time together, what to do together—you get to pick how to be happy and
faithful together.

The Church understands that the chaos of life
zaps every waking hour from us—welcome to modern living. But the Church also
understands that if we don’t live intentionally, those 936 family hours will whisk by and we’ll wonder
where they went. I don’t want to wake up to kids in college making every excuse
to not practice their faith. I don’t want to wake up to a middle-schooler
relying more on social media validation than God’s guidance.

To avoid that, we need to wake up now. What’s one hour anyways? Well, it
could be everything.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Naomi De La Cruz is a staff writer at INC Media Services, a mother of two, a slanger of books, lover of outdoor urban adventures and a baptized member of the Church Of Christ since 1998.

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