Walk circumspectly, . . . redeeming the time. Ephesians 5:15–16
The latter part of Ephesians 5 deals with the duties of wives and husbands, while the early verses in Ephesians 6 address children and their relationships with their parents. The practicalities listed in these verses are essential ingredients for a truly happy home.
Let’s use our sanctified imaginations and consider the implications of aging within the family unit. Children don’t stay young for long; they grow up. As parents, we are not actually raising children—we are really raising adults. Yes, they will always be our children in the biological sense, but our relationships with our grown children take on a strong dimension of friendship as we all grow older.
Early childhood is all about training. Middle childhood is more about shepherding. Young adulthood involves coaching. As the generations multiply, we must make intentional efforts to maintain unity and closeness with our children, their spouses, and their children. This will not happen apart from strategic planning. Life becomes increasingly busy and complicated as time passes, so foresight and effort are mandatory. The key is doing what we can while we can.
Children who like coming back home after they are out on their own are children who treasure the memories of their upbringing. They like coming back home because they liked their childhood! There are things we can do to foster family closeness as we plan for the inevitable process of growing older together. Wisdom is ours for the asking (see James 1:5), so let’s ask, and we will receive.
Consider several tips for aging gracefully together as a family. These can apply whether our children are still young and living at home or are grown and married with children of their own.
Celebrate occasions like birthdays, holidays, and accomplishments. We should look for reasons to rejoice together. Wise parents are serious about having a good time within their family units. One of my family’s traditions is allowing everybody to tell one thing they like about the person whose birthday we are celebrating. We always order either an ice-cream cake or the favorite cake of the one who is enjoying a birthday. Life is short, so it’s good to look for excuses to have lots of parties.
Take families out to eat. If our children are grown and married, it’s good to occasionally take each child out with his or her spouse to a nice restaurant.
Put children and grandchildren to work. We can include our children and grandchildren in projects and tasks around our houses. In some cases we can even make them a part of our livelihoods. We should teach children to do tasks and give them responsibilities. We can also involve them in our hobbies. They need to spend time with us doing the things we do.
Invest in special times with children and grandchildren. One Christmas I played Santa Claus and took our grandchildren to Dollar Tree for a special (cheap) outing. They were allowed to pick out a specified number of items. They thought it was great! Another time I sponsored a night out at Chuck E. Cheese’s where our grandchildren played games, rode rides, and ordered pizza (the pizza didn’t set so well with me, but the children enjoyed it!). We can take our children and grandchildren fishing, hunting, hiking, or camping, being creative according to their interests. Family bonds grow tighter as we create memories. It is helpful to brainstorm as to suitable possibilities within our specific considerations and circumstances.
Take the entire family for a vacation. A cabin or house can be rented for this occasion. Games and activities will build camaraderie. The purpose is have fun and enjoy each other.
Laugh loud and often. Laughter is good medicine. Not everything needs to be drop-dead serious. It’s good to find the hidden humor in each circumstance. It may be hidden really well, so we sometimes have to search for it. We should cultivate a joyful atmosphere when we gather together. There is a season for everything, so we should laugh together often.
Minister to family members when challenges arise. Sickness, crises, and difficulties are times for us to pull together. Blessing our family members in times of adversity builds tremendous unity. Showing compassion in difficult times has healed many a breach.
Invest treasure in family members. Time is a treasure. Emotional support is a treasure. Gifts are treasures. Surprises are treasures. Money is a treasure. When I was a young adult, my father gave me money regularly. I never asked for funds, but I never turned them down either! We should endow our children as we are in positions to do so.
Jesus said that individuals direct their treasure toward their deepest affection (see Luke 12:34). Our greatest assets are our families. At the end of the day, all that will matter is faith, family, and friends. So we should invest treasure in them. That will aid in keeping our family members on our teams.
Spend more time complimenting than correcting. Praise is an incentive that inspires. We must direct our children and grandchildren in the way they should go. We should feed and develop their strengths. Everybody is good at something, and we should recognize giftedness and commend it.
- Which of the nine suggestions listed above are most relevant to your family now?
- Plan a strategy of implementation for aging together gracefully.
- Think ahead to the next season of your life. Take the needed steps today for the future you desire tomorrow.
Written by Evangelist Harold Vaughan
Taken from Home Improvement: Keys To Building A Happy Home