Save Division for Math Class and Slicing Pizza
No matter what side of politics you are on, you cannot dismiss the fact that the intensity and severity of division among the American people is greater than it has been since the Civil War. In some ways, even greater. And unfortunately, it doesn’t show signs of getting any better any time soon.
Don’t worry—this is NOT a lesson for parents on politics. I merely used this as an example of how damaging division can be among people. Especially families, which is why I want to spend my time and page space this week encouraging you…imploring you…begging you to save division for math class and slicing pizza. I want you to focus on filling every possible nook and cranny of your family with things that unify. Things that make memories. Things that form bonds. Things that foster communication. Things that strengthen relationships. Things that build trust and confidence as individuals and as a family unit.
I want you to strongly consider (that’s code for just pick one or two and do it) picking at least two things from the list to do. Please. I promise the results will be worth any and all eyerolls, sighs, and ‘starting line’ protests.
· Have a weekly or twice a month game night. Zingo, Sorry, Twister, Crazy 8’s, Candy Land, and trivia games are fun and easily adaptable for a variety of ages.
· Take a walk as a family two or three times a week. We have some wonderful trails if you don’t have a neighborhood with sidewalks to walk in.
· Spend time each evening when no phones or electronics are allowed.
· Don’t let your teens or preteens spend all of their at-home time in their rooms behind closed doors or in front of a screen. Limit these times.
· Don’t take calls or emails from work or friends during family time.
· Read together. Choose a book and read aloud to the entire family. Family members can take turns reading. Some great books to choose from include: Charlotte’s Web, the Little House series, The Diary of a Wimpy Kid series, Nancy Drew, Hard Boys, The Chronicles of Narnia series, or age-appropriate biographies of famous Americans.
· Eat dinner together every night (or almost every night). Have each child take turns helping with food prep and cleanup. If you need to, buy an inexpensive set of conversation starter cards, or look some up online to keep the conversation going around the table.
· Worship together on Sunday, serve together as a family and with other people in your church on a regular basis, and fellowship as a family with neighbors, your church family, and extended family.
· Learn something new together. This will depend upon the ages of your children, but there is always something you can do together. Nature walks, a hobby, a craft, cooking and baking….
· Play word games like Would You Rather. You can learn a lot about each other this way—not to mention sharing lots of laughs.
· Delve into your family's history together. Ages and stages of your children will dictate this to an extent, but there are lots of ways even small children can learn to appreciate who they come from.
· Get online and look up some of the silly holidays assigned to literally every day of the year. It’s quite interesting, to say the least. But it also lends itself to giving you all sorts of things to celebrate. Choose one per week or one for every other week and celebrate it as a family. For example, on popcorn day, eat popcorn. On National Thesaurus Day, learn a new word or two. On National Teachers Day, give gifts to your child’s teachers—something they make themselves.
This is a very short list to get you started in thinking of at least a gazillion different ways to bring your family together instead of being divided. This is important, even vital, to the health and welfare of our society. Why? Because if we can stop the division from taking place in our homes, it will spread into our schools, workplaces, and into social and community events. Who knows? We may even start liking each other again.
Be Salt and Light,