Let’s face it. We live in an age of absolute laziness. It’s to the point that we don’t even have to produce full thought now, thanks to Google. I used to spend hours racking my brain trying to remember the name of a song. Now I can type in one line of the lyrics into a search engine and Bam! We’ve simply lost the ability to put effort into anything. (Note: Sadly , I just used Google to see if “rack” started with a “w”. Google says no.)
Just look at the divorce rate these days. I don’t mean just in terms of fidelity, although that is a big part of being faithful. I’m not referring to faithfulness just in that sense, I mean it in terms of loyalty to one another. Relationships seem to break down at the drop of a hat now. People are just not faithful and loyal like they used to be. The first sign of stress, or even boredom, and they pack their bags. This is because faithfulness requires effort. There’s no app for it. Pretty much the only thing you count on these days to be faithful and loyal is the dog.
So the challenge is, how do we develop a sense of faithfulness in our kids? Do we just have to do it through example? If my marriage stays intact, will our kids recognize that and want to have that for themselves? How do you force your kids to be faithful to their friends as they grow up? I know I’m not the best example for them. I’m in contact with very few people I knew as a child. The few that I do keep in contact are through text. My kids can’t see that. So how do I show them how important it is to stick with people through thick and thin? It’s a rarity these days. The advent of certain technologies have made it easy to limit face-to-face contact with people. Kids can have dozens of friends online, but could have very few physical friends.
So here are some ways that we as a family promote faithfulness and togetherness in our house:
1) Phone-free Sundays – With my wife’s busy work schedule and commute, it’s difficult to find quality time as a family during the week. So we devote almost every Sunday to family time. When we go out, we leave our phones at home and take just the old point-and-shoot camera instead. We even had to use an actual map one time when we got lost. Yes, we still have one of those old-fashioned fold-up maps in our car.
2) Family meals – Remember those? We eat the same meal at the same table at the same time. It helps reinforce that sense of family.
3) Keeping routines – It sounds silly, but keeping a routine requires effort and consistency. We’re big on night-time routines in our house. Bed at the same time, means we wake up at the same time.
4) Making time for friends – Playgroups are great, and we still do those too, but the kids are constantly changing. You can’t develop friendships that way. Creating lasting friendships early develop the loyalty that we’ve lost in the era of virtual friends. By visiting the same small group of friends, our kids develop those important bonds.
5) Being affectionate – Everyone wants to be loved, right? There’s a million songs about it. When we feel loved, we feel content. When we’re content, we stay true. I make sure to give my kids lots of hugs and kisses and also make sure they see me kiss my wife too.
6) Making time as a couple – The kids may be excited just to spend the weekend and Gamma and Papa’s now, but later on they will see why Mommy and Daddy need time together, without them around. Hopefully, they’ll see how it reinforces our faithfulness to each other.
How does your family unit promote faithfulness? Feel free to leave your ideas below.