Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Our family- A Unit

 When I was growing up my family did pretty much everything together. During much of my childhood my Dad even worked from home and we were able to see him whenever we wanted throughout the day and we ate every meal as a family (as we kids were also homeschooled). If someone had a friend they were the whole family's friend (generally we were friends with other families but we very much enjoyed time with single people too).  I loved growing up that way!

In our family (Ken and I and our children) we aren't all together quite to that extent because though Ken does owns his own insurance agency he works at an office in town, and also Ken and I do have "couple getaways" more often then my parents (they basically never did)  but we do try to do most things as a family unit.

  This concept of doing things "as a family" is very important to me. The Bible talks a lot about the family and its importance. God even compares his relationship with us to a father and his children and he compares Jesus relationship with the church to a bride and her groom. In our culture there have been many attempts to tear down the importance of the family whether it be by trying to redefine marriage or by just making us so busy with all the different things that one person can be apart of that we are hardly ever together as a family that the family falls apart.

  I know in my family (my parents and siblings) we have been very blessed with close relationships and a joy of working together. That has continued on into our adulthood. It is my hope and prayer that my family now (Ken and I and our children) will have the same sorts of relationships and I think we will.

   Some of the benefits that I see in doing things together as a family are:
  • Being able to train our children the way we think is right. We spend more time with them (by far) than any other person.
  • Being able to work together and accomplish more. A family is a built in team - nearly always a team can accomplish more than just one person. This is true with homestead activities, church ministry, political activism and more.
  • Learning together. We would never learn nearly all that we do if we didn't have each of us living and spending time together - all of us with different passions and talents. I absolutely love the way that we learn from each other! Exploring new subjects together is much more fun and interesting than doing it by myself (social me speaking here - I suppose not everybody feels that way).
  • Love and friendship. A good family is needed emotionally. If people don't have a good biological family they generally try to fill that void elsewhere. I truly love to spend time with my husband and children (and my parents and siblings).
  • Being able to work with, play with and appreciate people no matter if they are the same age as "me" or not.
 So how, in today's culture, can we do what we do as a family?

  • For our family we made the choice for me to be a stay at home mom. This obviously does impact that amount of money we can make as I would guess I probably could have a well paying job if I would have worked towards that. We have preferred to live more frugally and live on Ken's income. I have done things here and there to help earn some money (teaching music lessons here at home and running a home business of doing wedding flowers) but for the most part we live on one income. I much prefer more time with my kids over more money.
  • We made the decision to homeschool. This is a huge blessing to our lives and something I am very, very thankful for.
  • We have chosen not to enroll our kids in all sorts of various sports, music lessons, and other extra curricular activities. It isn't that we are completely opposed to them in fact we have been considering a few ideas over this past year but for the most part we prefer to do things as a family rather than everybody going a different direction. I am a very reluctant "soccer mom"- I will do a LOT of thinking and praying before getting involved with anything that is just for one person and requires a lot of running. We did try T-ball/ Little League one year for the boys but after having to run them 4 mornings a week for 6 weeks I was thoroughly burnt out- the next year we organized a get-together of families to play baseball one evening a week and it has been a great success. We go as a family (rather than me having to take the kids while Ken was at work) and the kids play together with the dads pitching and coaching and the moms organizing and visiting. It is very family friendly and we love it!
  • Ken and I are very politically involved which does sometimes take us away from the kids (though at those times they stay with my parents which they love) but a lot of times we enjoy doing our political activities as a family. I hold meetings at my house so that my kids can still be with me, we walk in parades as a family, we door knock as a family and so on. Our kids are getting an extra dose of government class in their education.
  • We make sure to eat meals together. It doesn't matter if Ken is late getting home from work- we wait for him. It doesn't matter what time he leaves in the morning (it can vary as he does sometime have early meetings to attend) most of the time we eat breakfast together as a family. Ken isn't home for lunch on weekdays but the rest of us sit down and eat together.
  • We work together. If either Ken or I have a project to work on (though when either of us have to work on the computer for our business that doesn't work so well to involve the kids) we try to involve the kids if we can. They learn about gardening, yard work, home repair, sewing and such because they help us.
  • We have set aside one evening a week for a night when just our family does something fun together. Other nights we have church or work on something or do something with others but one evening is set aside for our family. This was Ken's idea which at first I wasn't sure if I really saw the need for but I have been very thankful for it.
  • We like to camp together. I think this can be a very good bonding experience. :-)

I have been thinking on this subject lately because I have been seeing a revived trend of people appreciate and enjoying activities that they can do as a family. I am excited about that because I think it is a good thing for the state of our country.

  Here are some various family friendly activities that I have seen people enjoying lately:

-Our homeschool group (which we hold monthly throughout the school year) has been very well received and appreciated by many. We have chosen not to split up age wise for our activities and that has worked well for us.

-My younger sister and her husband and children have started doing something new this summer and that is opening their home every Sunday after church for whoever wants to come over for a potluck meal. That has become quite well attended and enjoyed by all that are able to go. I haven't personally been able to attend because they live in North Carolina but I think it sounds fun.

- Our new homemakers group we have made open to Women AND their children. We have been very pleased with the attendance so far and I think it is attractive to women because they don't have to leave their children at home.

- Our family friendly baseball games every week have been well attended and we have been told over and over how much they enjoy these relaxed games where the whole family can have fun together.

All of these activities are pretty simple in nature, the family is welcome and we are finding that people really like that.

Do you like to do things "As a family"? Do you have any favorite activities to do together?

I thought it would be fun to share pictures of our cute kids taken at our Homeschool group's end of year program:
Orville Wright (Jonathan) and  a WW1 nurse- who's hat fell off (Megan)
In the middle with the black hat stands a general from the war of 1812 (Aaron)

A Suffragette (Mara)


Lady Violet said...

Abbi, you have a fantastic family and every moment is to be valued as unique. All too soon you will find that they are drifting from the nest. Indeed money is worth nothing compared to the experience of living as one family unit. I have two in university, one in college, one in high-school and the last, still homeschooling. I admit that I live for the weekends when we can all be home together again :)
Blessing to you and your family.

Serving A Generation for Jesus said...

I love the idea of a family baseball game each week! We don't do organized sports because of the time commitment involved, but that sounds like a great way to involve the whole family. You could even make it a potluck/picnic. Love it. Will have to put some thought and prayer into it. :-)


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