We live in a fast-paced world where our accomplishments are based on how little time it takes to complete a certain tasks. Time is money and we tend to rush around to take care of our family's basic needs. Our children need food, shelter and clothing as well as a good education. But how often do we go beyond the necessities to spend real time with our children? This time is crucial to determine when our children require our guidance and assistance.
Supporting Our Children
Financial support is a necessity. Each day our children need to eat three decent meals, wear clothing and have a place to sleep after going to school. Covering the cost of these essential elements can be a challenge in today's unpredictable economy. We clearly recognize our responsibilities in accordance with the Bible:
But if anyone does not provide for his relatives, and especially for members of his household, he has denied the faith and is worse than an unbeliever. 1 Timothy 5-8
Money matters because it is the currency used to obtain what we need for our families. We also want to get them certain luxuries to fulfill their wish lists. There is no problem with that unless we are losing precious time talking and relating with our children. Balance needs to be achieved.
Talking to Our Children
Our children require constant love, attention and guidance. They need to have someone they trust to talk to about bullying, struggles with school subjects and confusion about growing up in general. The modern world presents a variety of issue we did not have as kids. Today children are bombarded by media images and conflicting messages from peers. We are the rock they depend on to provide meaningful advice. While it might seem they are not listening or don't really want to talk, it matters in the long run.
Children, obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right. “Honor your father and mother” (this is the first commandment with a promise), “that it may go well with you and that you may live long in the land.” Fathers, do not provoke your children to anger, but bring them up in the discipline and instruction of the Lord. Ephesians 6:1-4
Eventually they will remember their verbal exchange with you and it helps them to make better choices. Take ten minutes each day to ask your child about his or her day. You might be surprised at what you discover after doing this for a few week. Your child starts to trust you and opens up about their problems. Early detection of certain problems can prevent your kids from heading toward disaster.
Making Memories With Our Children
Parents often believe they need to save up for a major event to make memories with their children. Often it is the simplest moments they treasure. You don't have to take everyone to Disneyland to make memories. Plan family events that fit into your budget and create memories you will have together forever. Consider a few basic ways to spend more time together and have fun.
- Family dinners are a wonderful way to share time together. Everyone has to eat and the dinner table is a perfect gathering spot. If your kids are in activities after school, learn to be flexible. Perhaps dinnertime has to be a bit later than usual to eat together as a family. On weekends, encourage the kids to shop for dinner and cook it with you. This extends the time you spend together and is a budget-conscious way to spend a day doing something positive.
- Plan a movie night with crunchy snacks to entice your kids to spend an evening with the family. Each week another family member can choose the movie and snacks so everyone feels like their voice matters. Order the movie from your cable company to save money. It is less expensive than going to the theater and makes your home a comfortable mecca for entertainment.
- Family game night is a classic way to have fun. Try to avoid video and TV games, as the kids often spend enough time playing them. Try old-fashioned games such as Hearts, Parcheesi or checkers. Clue, Monopoly and Scrabble are other popular choices. Play a different game each week to keep family game night interesting. Avoid being competitive with each other. It's not about who wins - it's about spending quality time together.
- Prayer is the ultimate tool to unite families. Attend Mass together and discuss the meaning of the Bible readings when you return home. Go to dinner or the park after Mass to make it even more special. Take time each day to join hands and pray together. Prayers can be said in the morning, before dinner and prior to going to bed. This instills the concept of prayer in your child's life and strengthens their relationship with Him.
Children grow up quickly and every moment is precious. Work and responsibilities will always be waiting for you but our children grow up and move away. Treasure the moments you have and talk to them so they know they always have you and God to depend on.