Our church has a tradition of putting family as a high priority in our daily lives. A practice that has been stressed to us is a once per week family night, when we take time to discuss our religious and family beliefs, and re-establish a connection with one another. We have been told that this will keep our families from falling apart, and protect our children from being pulled away from us. We are promised that if we will uphold this tradition, we will find our values being transferred to our children much more deeply, and our feeling of family love and unity will be given greater strength, and bring us greater joy. Family night is generally set aside as Monday evening, when the church schedules no events, and asks that the local congregations (wards) and members do the same. The actual practice of this is left up to us. Some families are better than others about observing this tradition.
I find that TV can kill a family night faster than anything. Even if it's our great plan to watch something together, at least someone will find the show choice dull and go off alone. It's not very interactive, and we don't feel any closer after doing it. So last night, when my husband came home and turned on a movie, my first instinct was to whine, complain, stomp off, etc. But I didn't, because something in his manner had been so gentle, so loving, I had no fight in me. Kaylee and I put some cookies in the oven for our treat, and we all ate cold cereal and milk and fresh peaches for dinner so I wouldn't be wasting family time cleaning up the kitchen.
After the movie was over, the kids started to scatter, my husband started to channel surf, and yet again, I had an opportunity to whine, stomp, complain, feel sorry for myself, say that no one cared but me, etc. etc. But I didn't.
I asked my husband if he minded if we had a quick lesson. He called the kids back in, we sang a song, had a 3 minute discussion about a subject of Faith, read a scripture, and we sang a song again. Then we prayed, played a game (The Hokie-Pokie,) followed by a family hug. I felt a warmth begin to grow inside. The children settled down, and were so happy and excited to have our attention, they seemed in those minutes, more confident and secure. Then we all enjoyed some cookies together, served by my daughter and me. I could feel us connecting as we smiled and enjoyed one another. Our home felt peaceful, loving, and warm. We felt a stronger loyalty and love, and get this, it only took 8 minutes! When we went to bed, I felt powerful, confident, and calm, and the children settled down nicely, even though they'd just had cookies.
Taking Back Our Power
Instead of being yanked around from one mile marker to the next, Family Night teaches first ourselves and then our children that WE are in control of our lives. A feeling of strength enters us and our home, and a sense of security begins to evolve. There are many things that can ruin this feeling, but this is a tool for connection and most importantly, re-connection.