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Family Life with Meaning - Issue 330
January 24, 2014
Hi there! ....

Over the last few weeks we have been enjoying a great wet season – lots of rain. What we need now is a few dry days to make the roads drivable and we should have some wonderful waterfalls to enjoy. Pete has been over east to visit his family. Josh was over that way at the same time going to a conference aimed at helping youth apply the gospel to every area of life. Jessica has signed up for a Business Admin course – she’ll be studying externally which suits her and the other commitments and interests she has. Our Naomi has turned 17 – we celebrated with a walk into a nearby swimming hole with a few friends. We’ve had great conversations, played a few games over dinner and watched a few movies. We’ve been in holiday mode, of sorts! I’ve started to plan our studies for the coming year, and if the kids aren’t working with Pete they’ll be doing a few hours of focus until we start our study block in full swing early February.

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Family Life with Meaning

Christmas is over and we may breathe a sigh of relief – all that activity, all that stuff (and if that is how you feel about it, maybe you need to reconsider how you do Christmas, but that is another topic!) A big part of Christmas for our family is the idea of building family – building our children’s hearts: their love for Jesus and their connection with family. So yes, it is a busy time, but we do it on purpose!

This week I’ve been pondering what next? Not in terms of New Year’s resolutions – but in terms of how are we going to continue to build our children’s hearts?

  • How are we going to continue to introduce them to Jesus? How are we going to encourage them to strengthen their relationship with Him?
  • How are we going to continue to build connections as a family?

Traditions are something that you do over and over, on a regular schedule. It might be a daily, weekly, yearly tradition. When we make time for these things to happen, regardless of how busy life is – we are telling our children these things are important. This is one way we can transfer values into our children’s hearts. I find it a challenging idea: What will our children take with them into their adult life. Not that I want them to copy everything that we have done, but at the same time, if the things we do have a value behind them, I believe our kids will take the value but probably create new activities. I actually look forward to seeing the creative ways our children live out the values that are a part of our family now.

This is why we need to know why we do these things – do we just celebrate birthdays, Christmas, and have family nights because that is what happened when we grew up? Or maybe because that is what happens in the culture we live in? We must be more intentional than that. Our traditions will be empty social events unless they are built on our values.

I am sure there are already practices in your family life that are creating these opportunities, but it is a good time to pause and check to see if those family activities, or traditions, are meeting your expectations. As our children grow older the family dynamics change, and if we are to be intentional about family life and the building of our kids’ hearts, we may need to change what we do in order to build the values which remain constant.

Here are some ideas to start with:

  • Family meal times, whether it is the evening meal, Sunday breakfast or afternoon tea together - These are my favourite times because it is as we sit around food, that we talk heart to heart.

  • Family nights are an opportunity build togetherness – to build a team. This can be done by eating, playing, praying, serving, or any number of activities together.

  • Family devotions are an opportunity to confirm that ‘as for me and my house we will serve the Lord’, it is not only a time to instil the value of God’s Word, but also to teach and practice the Christian disciplines of reading, praying, and encouraging each other in God.

  • Celebrating birthdays are an opportunity to celebrate the individual – who they are and how special they are.

  • Your Wedding Anniversary is an opportunity to uphold the value of marriage

  • Other significant dates like Christmas, Easter, Anzac Day – these celebrations are on our calendar for a reason – teach into them.

  • One on One times with your kids are an opportunity to get to know them, and for them to get to know you. It is a time where you can bring encouragement or correction.

  • Community involvement – when you are involved in a group bigger than yourself, or your own family, it is loaded with opportunity to teach your kids the value of the other person.

  • When you support each other’s pursuits with sports or hobbies you are teaching the value of family.

  • The books you read together, or talk about together, will give you opportunity to talk about principles you want your family to live by.

  • Bedtime routines can create an atmosphere of trust and closeness where you can show love and your children feel safe to share their hearts.

Why are you doing the things that you do? What do you hope to impart? I have just listed some of the values behind the activities that we have done over the years. You may use family life for different values. You may have other activities and events that are meaningful and purposeful to your family.

It is easy to just get caught up in the activity of either family life or traditions, without considering the values that you are actually celebrating. There are things on this list that I feel we need to polish up on – things that we’ve let slide in our own family. Considering the value – rather than just the practice – gives me motivation to do something about it. Maybe it is the same for you. Often when I re-evaluate and find things missing it is easy just to rewrite our whole family life and add everything that I ever wished we had happening. That is a sure way towards failure. The key is to find the activity/value that is the most significantly and yet missing and to work on adding that to your family life. Of course, what that is will be different for each family.

During the week I blog at Live Life with Your Kids! This week I posted:

Or maybe you'd like to read something from my website:

Check out other homeschool and parenting issues over at my website, Lifestyle Homeschool

My Bookshop

Blending Life with Lessons e-book - Does your everyday life challenge your homeschool ideas? This is my journey as I discover that it is possible to disciple my children in today's busy lifestyle.

Heart Focus Parenting book/e-book - A heart focused parent will keep their attention on their child's heart for God, instead of on external behaviours.

Restoring the Heart, Mind and Soul of Christmas Do your Christmas celebrations line up with what you believe? Do your celebrations help your children learn more about Jesus?

This e-book is based on a workshop I held for a couple of years to help families see that Christmas can be a significant tradition in our family life. If we are intentional about how our family celebrates we have the opportunity to use this time to teach our children about Jesus, and his love for each one of us.

My Sitemap is a quick reference to all you will find on Lifestyle-Homeschool. I encourage you to have a browse around!

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Until next week

Belinda Letchford
Living life with her kids in Australia!

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About Live Life with your kids Newsletter

Live life with your Kids newsletter is about being a deliberate parent, about enjoying family life and using the opportunities that happen to teach and train your children in righteousness (right living with God). I hope that you will find regular encouragement as you live life with your kids!

The newsletter will also keep you updated with all additions to Lifestyle-Homeschool

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