Friday, May 6, 2011

All In a Day: How to Encourage Unity and Closeness in the Family

What an honor God has given us to have a family! The joy far out-weighs the hard times. I can not count the number of  times that I have been in an all out, full on, belly laugh, because my children have done something so silly and funny that only a child could come up with it!

And he said: "I tell you the truth, unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven. ~Matthew 18: 3

What a joy they are! What a wonderful blessing! My heart aches for the world and it's view of children. They are seen as a burden and not for the great blessing they are. If you doubt this I challenge you to ask any family you know that has more than 3-4 children about the comments they hear from the world. Children in numbers is no longer viewed as a blessing from the Lord but as something that must be an accident or that comes from sheer ignorance. This is sadly not only within the world without the Living God in their lives but those right here within the Body of Christ.

That being said my first and foremost piece of advice for encouraging family unity and closeness is to remember that each child you have is reward! A Heritage from the LORD!

Behold, children are a heritage from the Lord, the fruit of the womb a reward. Like arrows in the hand of a warrior are the children of one's youth. Blessed is the man who fills his quiver with them! He shall not be put to shame when he speaks with his enemies in the gate. . ~Psalm 127:3-5

If we, as parents, do not see our children as a blessing but as a burden, how can we encourage unity and closeness within our family? Have you ever felt out of place, like you were a burden to someone? Did it make you want to draw close to them? If you want your children to draw close to their family, remember that they must always know what a blessing they are to you! My husband said something to me that has really stuck in my mind. He told me that he changed the way he thought. Especially on the days when he's tired and doesn't want to play or read bed time stories, he has changed from, I need to do this, or I have to do this, to I *GET* to read them a story tonight, I *get* to put them to bed, I *get* to play soccer with them.  By changing this one word in his mind it reminds him that every moment he gets with his family is a blessing straight from the Lord. The day will come when you no longer have a little one hanging on your dress asking you to cuddle with them and read them a story. A blessing indeed!

Now with all of that, most of us have experienced the bickering children, the sinful nature, the selfishness. So onto some practical ideas for helping to encourage that unity within your family and amongst your children.

When my children are fighting and being willfully mean to each other I have a discipline that almost always ends in smiles, laughing, and apologies. Which is the goal, right? We don't want to discipline our children just so we have the satisfaction because they were a bother. We want them to learn and grow.
When this happens I make them stand in one spot and hug until I am convinced that they have softened their hearts and are showing love for each other again. When we start I am usually met with moans and groans but it almost always ends with laughter and softened hearts.

Another thing we do to foster closeness within our family is support each other in our individual endeavors.  I always encourage my children to cheer loud for their brother and sisters when they are playing in a soccer game, piano recital, or any other event they are involved in. When daddy plays basketball we cheer loud for him. 

Letting our older children help with the younger ones has really helped our younger children to feel loved by their older siblings and it helps our older children to feel a sense of protectiveness and love towards the little ones.  

I guess when it comes down to it we try to remember a few simple things to encourage closeness and unity within our family. One: Our family is a blessing from the Lord! His Heritage! Two: Treat each other with respect. Three: Defend and protect each other. Four: Cheer for each other in encouragement. 

When Jesus saw this, he was indignant. He said to them, “Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of God belongs to such as these. Mark 10:14

Here is a list of ladies linking with All in a day. 
Carrie @ Our Full House
Christi @ Where the Creek Meets the Lake
Elizabeth@ Yes They’re All Ours
Kathy @ Kathy Mom of Many 
Kristy @ Little Natural Cottage
Lori @ Happy Busy Mama
Monica @ Natural Mama
Renee @ Bakers Dozen

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