Today’s feature is written by best-selling author, entrepreneur, preacher, Kerygma leader and lay minister, The Preacher in Blue Jeans, Mr. Bo Sanchez.
After one of my talks, a very anxious mother approached me and asked, “Bo, can you help me? I have a problem with my daughter. She’s always with her friends…”
I had very little time to talk to her so I took my best shot. I asked her, “Is there happiness at home?”
Here’s my belief. I believe kids will love to go home if there’s love in the home. Friend, is there happiness in your home?
I’ve noticed that the happiest relationships have a rhythm of celebration. In other words, they throw parties.
I don’t mean a party with balloons and clowns (though that would be great too), but putting a “party spirit” in your relationship.
I’ve got three fantastic suggestions.
- Make the Family Meal a Party: Parents, please. Make your meals happy!Here’s a rule you should write on stone: Ban all sermons when you’re around the table.Instead, feed your children with dishes of laughter, platefuls of inspiration and trays of encouragement. Make every family meal a joyful occasion.
- Hold a Family Night Each Week:My kids love family nights.If they had it their way, we’ll do it every night.
Sometimes, we watch a movie at home with a barrel of popcorn.
Sometimes, we play games together. Monopoly, Charades, Pictionary and Trivia.
Sometimes, we all play video games together.
Obviously, the kids always win and the parents lose. But that’s OK. Instead of banning video games from our kids, we enter into their digital worlds. Doing so enables us to guide them against violent games.
Sometimes, we go to a bookstore and eat ice cream.
I believe the weekly family night is a mini-party that you should never miss. Believe me, when you’re old and grey, you’ll look back at these times and thank God you had them!
- Go On Weekly Dates with Each Family Member: I date my wife each week.I consider that a mini-party, too.
Years ago, we had very little money.
So we had dates in our garage.
Sometimes, we took a quiet walk in our neighborhood.
One day, I thought of something crazy. We ate at home, dressed up really well then went to a five-star hotel. We entered the hotel like we were millionaires. No one knew we had very little money in our pockets. And confidently, I ordered a glass of Coke. And for two solid hours, we enjoyed the violin music and beautiful ambiance — all the while sipping our Coke very slowly.
I date my kids each week, too. Those are mini-parties. Sometimes, it’s just donuts. Other times, we play a game together. The key is to make it fun.
One last suggestion…
Create your own family’s “liturgical calendar.” Sit down and block off the most important dates of the year.
For example, plan everyone’s birthday.
Many times, it’s very spontaneous. “Oh, it’s your birthday today? Let’s have dinner.” Why not plan a bit more? Go camping in the backyard, or visit an orphanage, or invite your child’s friends for a sleepover, or go out and have a mini-vacation together.
Look at the big feasts of your faith — Christians, Easter, Pentecost, etc. Example: During the entire Advent season, we light the Advent wreath as a family for four straight weeks before Christmas.
Other important days: First day in school. Last day in school. It could be Jimbo, the pet dog, giving birth to four puppies.
If there’s a reason to celebrate, throw a party!
I share more things you can do to renew, bless and heal your most important relationships in my book, How to Build a Happy Family. My friend, Rosanne Romero, also wrote Amusing Grace, A Second Helping, which can help you find fun and humor in the midst of the mundane and every day challenges of building a happy home. A mother herself, Rosanne is an overcomer, who lives victoriously despite dealing with multiple sclerosis. There is much you can lean from this fantastic woman in finding joy and meaning even amidst the problems you encounter at home.
These books are available now at www.kerygmabooks.com. I wish you and your family blessings of joy and peace!