Tuesday, July 10, 2012
Each summer, my in laws conduct what they call Cool Cousins Camp. It was originally intended to be a week each summer that the grandkids came and spent a week without the parents. Since a couple of us live far away, it has turned out that it is a week with the family. My in laws are very intentional about bringing the family together and doing things as a group that draws people together.
With so many families living far away from each other, I have come to appreciate this time together. The cousins that would not otherwise get to spend any time with each other, spend concentrated time together and get to know each other's personalities. The siblings and in laws also get some time to be together. It bonds us as an extended family in ways that could not be done over a long distance.
As parents, it is our responsibility to also be intentional with our immediate family - as parents and kids. We must do things as a family and with our kids so that we get to know each other and our personalities. Many studies have shown that those families that are close - they eat family dinners together, they do activities together, they go places together - have children that don't disconnect in their later teenage years.
So far, we have been fortunate to be able to keep our family dinners most nights a week. We are able to do family activities together. I know this will be more and more difficult as our kids get older, but I am determined to be intentional in building family relationships as they grow.
What can you do today to begin to be intentional with your family? If you are already doing some things, what else can you do to keep or bring your family close together? If your kids are very young, let me encourage you, that although doing family activities might not be easy or necessarily fun, keep working at it - I promise it gets easier. If you have older kids and have not done this before, your kids may not appreciate it, but put forth the effort and insist that your kids join in. They will begin to look forward to whatever you decide to do.