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  Strong FamiliesMonday, March 27th, 2017  
© John Mark Ministries

Choose A Strength-Building Action That Fits Your Family and Make It Happen!

Volunteer with your children on a service project, any kind that helps people. Take pictures during the project and use the pictures to talk later about what was happening.

Begin a family game night. Play board games, outdoor games, or a game you played as a child. The important thing is not winning; it's having fun together.

Schedule regular "Family Story Nights" at your house. Invite friends and ask each person to tell about unusual or zany things that happened to them during childhood. Kids love it.

Practice meandering conversation. While you're waiting in traffic, or working a puzzle, or eating a meal ask, "What'd you think about...?" questions. Then just listen, really listen.

Keep a personal journal or diary. Begin by listing the most memorable people in your past. Describe their influence in you and your desire to be a little like them.

Write letters to your children after each of their milestones in life. Tell about your memories of your milestone and about you celebration of their journey to adulthood.

Make a list of your ten best "rules to live by" - the ones you want your children to tell their children. Quote yourself enought to make your words unforgettable.

Simplify the rules at your house. Write them down and post them so everyone can see them. Examples: "We don't yell, fight, hit, or whine. We work together. We respect each other."

Set regular times to read aloud to your children. Select books that build character. Read stories on trips, at bedtimes, and on stormy nights.

Hold a "Family Checkup" once a week. Share ideas, assign tasks, make plans, coordinate calendars, and listen to complaints. These debriefing sessions build loyalty.

Invent a silent symbol of your family's growing camaraderie, for example, a thumbs-up signal, a wink, or a gentle tug of an earlobe. It will be your family secret.

Take your children to work with you for a day. If necessary, take a vacation day. Take pictures, explain what you do, and introduce your kids to your co-workers.

Start a new family tradition this year. Decide on two or three possibilities, try them, and then ask which one should become your new annual tradition.

Whether you love art, cooking, baseball, gardening, sewing, jogging, or something else, give your children the chance to join you in your activity. Help them share a little of your passion.

Invite grandparents over for the evening. Set up a video recorder and begin the discussion by asking, "What funny things happened when you were a kid?" Your kids will love the stories, so will you.

Teach life skills to your children. At the appropriate time, teach them how to ... sew on buttons, do CPR, use a washer and dryer, wrap gifts, cook a meal, and plant a tree.

Suprise the kids. Race them to the end of the block. Make snow angels. Wake them up in the middle of the night to go outside and look at the stars.

Help your children learn a process of facing and dealing with problems that works for them. Teach them about patience, responsibility, and options.

Make sure your marriage is getting what it deserves. A date, once a week, is necessary, even if it's as simple as a walk around the block and a cup of coffee.

Spend time around other people who have a high priority placed on family. Strong families do not live in isolation. We really need each other. Honor those who honor family.

Source: 7 Things Kids Never Forget, by Ron Rose, Questar Pub. 1993.




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