Monday, April 26, 2010

Kid Friendly but not Family Oriented?

We live in a society that seems to be kid-friendly, but shamelessly not family oriented. I'm blessed to live in a small town that isn't as bad as, say, a big city...but even here, it's really tough! We have so much gear, toys and other forms of entertainment geared toward our kids, but where do these things encourage our relationship with them? Most of the time, they detract from it. The goal these days seems to be working to be able to put our kids in activities they enjoy and get them (and us) the stuff they like. Wouldn't they be much happier with a close relationship with their parents? I think our teens would be much less rebellious and much more mature on the whole, if that need for relationship were adequately met.

Having to spend so much time away from our families working to have all this stuff that just takes us further away from an intimate, nurturing relationship with our children seems to me to be defeating the purpose. It's a societal epidemic. We've got daycare, preschool, and pressure to get them in school as soon as possible. Then there are the endless talents they need to pursue perfecting as they get older. Poor kids are getting shoved out the door at every turn before they even have a chance to be kids...time to learn who they are, what their relationship with their Creator truly is, time to figure out what the things are that truly matter in life.

Please don't misunderstand. In our family, we allow our kids to enjoy activities. They get to watch a little TV and spend a little time on the computer. But these times are very limited as well as the amounts of outside activities they get to participate in. Family comes before social activities, school, and even before church activities. Our time with them is too precious and to short-lived to waste a moment. With all the time they spend at school and that we spend working and doing chores...then with homework, church activities, and sports...the day is gone in no time. We've learned that we must say, "No." A LOT.

The only answer is to limit those outside activities, as hard as that is to do. Have less...and therefore, work less. Include the kids in seemingly mundane things that give opportunities for relationships to grow. Make time for each other and find joy in the simple things. Someday, the kids will thank us for it!

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