As I took time to reflect on 2016, the phrase “embrace the moment” moved from a common cliche to a heartfelt reality. I lost my dad. As I continue to grieve, I reflect on what my dad taught me. Family was his priority. That’s why, in 2017, I thought it would be good to spell out seven ways we can “embrace the moment” – ways to embrace our families like never before.
1. Set weekly date nights with your spouse.
Prioritizing our family begins by prioritizing our marriage. Relationally, the environment of our home ebbs and flows on how well we feel supported, appreciated, and loved by our spouse. We also know how hard it can be to be creative and come up with date night ideas. But we must do it – at all costs.
2. Play with your kids.
Don’t allow those three powerful words – “play with me” – coming from your kids, go unnoticed this year. No matter how old our kids are, play is their work. Research shows that 20 minutes of command-free time a day with our kids wires their brains for healthy relationships.
3. Plan a family vacation – just immediate family.
Granted, with little ones, vacations aren’t really “vacations.” They’re trips. But nothing rejuvenates and sets the tone for your immediate family more than time away together.
4. Go on an annual abandon with your spouse – no kids allowed.
Need a vacation instead of a trip? We all do. That’s only one of the benefits of taking a long weekend away with the love of your life.
5. Create a values list for your family.
The Bible is very clear about the Lord building our house (Psalm 127:1). Set a values list that you can use to filter your family decisions. This list will help you connect values to discipline with your kids.
Anything you cannot fast from owns you. Researchers show that our screens increase dopamine in the brain the way drugs do. Don’t allow screens to own your family. You can begin by setting an e-nup, an electronic nuptial agreement, in your marriage.
7. Tuck your kids in bed each night.
Moses had it right. There are four key times of the day we can use to teach our kids about God. Tucking our kids in bed is one of them. There is no better time of the day to connect with your kids at a heart level than in the vulnerability of this one moment. Whether or not you choose to pray with them, ask them questions about their day, or tell stories, let’s not just send our kids to their room. Use it as a quiet moment to connect at a heart level. Not every night will be a home run. But those few minutes have the power to transform not just your child – but you as well.
About the Author
Joshua Straub has two cherished roles – husband and dad. Joshua serves as the Marriage and Family Strategist for LifeWay Christian Resources.