Then God blessed the seventh day and sanctified it, because in it He rested from all His work which God had created and made. – Genesis 2:3
It’s a common said expression, “The family that prays together, stays together.” I do believe that to be true, but there is something else important for families to do together…that’s enjoy quality fun time together. In a previous post about foundations for fatherhood I mentioned that children spell love, t-i-m-e. This is why Sue and I gather everyone together once a week for a family time and dinner. This is one way that we stay actively engaged in each others lives, even now that our children are all adults.
Recently, Sue, myself and our whole immediate family went on our annual family vacation. This is a special time in which all of our children, their spouses, and our grandchildren gather together for a week in Hawaii. Of all the travel that I do throughout the year, this is one of my favorite trips. We play games together, cook big family meals, and spend lots of time on the beach! This is not only a time of fun, which it is, but it is a valuable time, in which we are making memories as a family and taking a much needed sabbath rest. Not only is it essential for each one of us to be taking a sabbath, but it’s also important and a blessing to take a sabbath together as a family.
During our vacation, Sue and I had a wonderful time enjoying quality Nana and Papa time with our grandchildren. We even got a chance to celebrate our grandson, Caleb Judah’s birthday, while we were in Hawaii. It’s not just the serious moments together as a family that build your legacy – it’s also those quiet times or even playful and silly moments with your family that enrich the closeness of your bond and create memories that will last a lifetime.
5 And Joshua said to them, “Pass on before the ark of the Lord your God into the midst of the Jordan, and take up each of you a stone upon his shoulder, according to the number of the tribes of the people of Israel…So these stones shall be to the people of Israel a memorial forever.” – Joshua 4:5,7
When the nation of Israel had crossed the Jordan river, Joshua told them to get twelve stones from the river bed, one stone for each of the tribes. Then they were to set the stones as “memorial stones,” marking what the Lord had done for them. One of the things that is significant in this passage is that each stone represented a tribe and each tribe was named after and led by a son of Jacob, who was later renamed Israel. These are not only memorial stones about what God had done for a nation, but markers of remembrance about what God had done with a family.
In over 36 years of parenting, Sue and I have learned how very important it is to have memorial stones as a family. These stones are the memories we make together: the times the Lord has come through for us; the milestones in our children’s lives, such as marriage; when our family expanded to include grandchildren, and the small moments that meant a lot to us, as well as the big. As parents, we need to make space in our lives to spend time and build a healthy family. Healthy families are the nucleus for a healthy society and culture. Just stewarding the family God has blessed us with is one major way that we can positively impact our culture with the gospel of Jesus. This is why we must remember when leading our children that they are our closest disciples. After all, the Bible tells us, “Be fruitful and multiply; fill the earth and subdue it; have dominion over the fish of the sea, over the birds of the air” (Genesis 1:28).
Know that you don’t have to go on a vacation to create pleasant and lasting memories with your family. All you need is time and a desire to connect, heart to heart with your children. So, as parents let’s make space, not just once a year, but everyday to enjoy the family we have been blessed with.
Behold, children are a heritage from the Lord,
The fruit of the womb is a reward.
Like arrows in the hand of a warrior,
So are the children of one’s youth.
Happy is the man who has his quiver full of them
– Psalm 127:3-5