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Family Night and the Importance of Simple Traditions

Pizza… a movie… junk food… and the entire family chilling around the TV. The requisite check list items for our crew’s “Family Night”. What started out years ago as something fun for all of us to share, grew in to a weekly mandate by the kids. Not in a spoiled, “we want sugar” kind of way, but as a genuine need to spend fun time together. If mom or I try to weasel out of it on an especially busy weekend, they’ll call us on it. It’s something that has been especially important as the draws of school, work, Scouts, sports, and the like pull everyone in radical directions all week. Friday night is Family Night, and we do it together.

Family Night SignFirst off, it’s worth noting that there are magically no fattening calories in our house on Family Night. (It’s funny how that works out when you need it to.) We do admit that a banquet of combination pizza, chocolate doughnuts, and Cheetos aren’t going to win us any parenting awards for nutrition. However, the impact a simple tradition like this has on the crew makes it more than worthwhile in the end. It forms bonds that emphasize the importance of a close family that has fun together. Maybe when our kids are grown up, they will have a Family Night in their own homes… or perhaps they’ll come up with their own bonding tradition. Regardless, I do know that they will do something because it’s meant so much to them.

If you have simple traditions that your family shares or you remember as a kid, please share it. A family tradition can’t grow without first starting out as a new idea!

My Daughter Cared Enough, Maybe I Should Listen

Text Message, "Don't Eat Meat Today"Mmmm…. It’s Friday of what’s been a long week, I’ve got a great pulled beef sandwich in my lunch, and it’s just about time to crack it open. Simple pleasures.

Hey, the buzz of a text message. Likely my freshman daughter who often sneaks a peak at her texts during lunch at school. Always fun. Let’s see, four simple words, “Don’t eat meat today” Oh yeah… it’s a Friday during Lent.

I paused and stared at the screen for a moment. We’re a Christian family, so I could do the right thing and abstain from the tasty treat in my desk drawer; or, I could dismiss her message and dive in. After all, the leftover laden sandwich is what I happen to have for lunch. As I considered this, my thoughts evolved beyond my own personal discipline, but to the point of listening to my daughter. She had sent the message as it was important to her. We may not always agree, but I respect her and her opinions.

It’s easy to get in the groove of always feeling the need to be the adult and not reciprocating the respect inherent in truly listening. If you raise your children right, then the judgment and insight they develop as they get older should be a reflection of that. Listen, and you can learn from them as they have learned from you.

The sandwich got a pass that Friday, and a couple bean burritos from the Taco Bell down the street made up my lunch. Still tasty, yet garnished with a greater respect for my daughter.

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