During the 1980s the t.v. airwaves were dominated by family-based sitcoms. Shows ranged from Growing Pains to Family Ties, from Alf to Who’s the Boss, from Full House to The Wonder Years, and many more.
There is something, not only nostalgic about these sweet and simple family shows, but there is tugging at our hearts when we see these great families. Families that laugh together, solve problems, and leave us wishing our families were that perfect.
Family time is not only important, it is Biblical. In our culture today, so many things demand our time and attention. It is important to set aside time to spend with our families. This can be the family into which we were born. Or it can be the family that raised us. For many it is their church family. Or it can be the family of friends you have collected along the way.
1) Family time allows us remember our past
There are times this may be painful, but there are things we can learn from our past — things not to repeat, things to pass on to the next generation.
As we can see in the Bible, we are reminded often to teach God’s story to our children. When God delivered Israel in the Old Testament, He reminded them over and over again to build an altar so that they would remember the good things He had done.
Further, when the Israelites were about to enter the Promised Land, they were standing near the Jordan River and Moses begins to remind them of the amazing things God did to deliver them from slavery. We have these words written down for us in the book of Deuteronomy. In chapter 11, he reminds them, once again, that their children had not seen these things first hand, and that it is their responsibility to teach their children.
Deuteronomy 11:18-19 — “So commit yourselves wholeheartedly to these words of mine…teach them to your children. Talk about them when you are at home, and when you are on the road, when you are on the road and when you are getting up…”
When we spend time with family, we can remember how grandma put carrots in our jello, and how weird that was. We might remember how grandpa used to wear that old, ratty, flannel jacket every time he went outside to work. We get to hear stories of how our parents walked two miles to school, in the snow every day. And we enjoy these funny stories.
But, we also get the opportunity to tell our children how God healed an aunt of cancer, or how God provided food when there wasn’t any, or how God gave you a good job. These are our stories to tell. When we connect our kids to our past memories, we give them a picture of the good things God can do.
And when our past isn’t pretty, we still give our kids a picture of the amazing things God has delivered us from or protected us from. Maybe grandpa was an alcoholic, so your mom determined not to drink alcohol. Possibly there was abuse in your past, but God healed the pain so you could raise great kids yourself. Potentially you came from a broken home, but God has helped you maintain a strong and healthy marriage. These stories need to be shared as well.
2) Family time reminds you to be your true self
It is easy in the social media world in which we live to see our life in a hashtag #bestlife #noflilter. The reality is that not many of us truly live in the filtered, edited world of Instagram. We don’t always have our hair perfect, kids neat and clean, best outfit, perfect day we present.
Therefore, family time is important to remind us who we truly are. It is often with our family that we can best “let down our hair.” That we can be true and genuine and real. It is with family that we can wear sweats, eat off paper plates, and let our silly side shine forth.
If we judge ourselves solely by what we see on t.v., magazines, and social media, we will never measure up. We can not compete, or be good enough. That is a lot of pressure for us as adults, but imagine the pressure on kids and teenagers to always display their “best behavior.” Where can they go to have a meltdown? Where can they go when they aren’t getting the best grade? Or what about when they didn’t have a great game? Where do they go when the circle of students they thought were their friends say cruel things?
The past two months, I have had the privilege of spending a lot of extra time with family — between holidays, a wedding, a funeral, and a memorial service, I have seen family come together in love, support, and help. God put us in our family for a reason. Maybe, you are the one to bring truth and light to your family. Maybe you are the one to bring hope. And maybe you are the one to bring healing and wholeness.