Family time is the best time of the week for us. We try to have that as much as we can. If we could we would have it every day…but not all day long, of course. We need our space too. We need our “husband and wife time” alone … with no kids. This is very important for us as well. Without this time of intimacy, we would’ve already lost our minds … completely!
But we truly do enjoy investing time in our children: playing with them, reading to them, holding them in our arms and telling them how much we love them, praying with them, etc. We enjoy being involved in their “own little worlds”. Not because we always get along or because we never fight. We have our moments. Believe me! The kids fight among themselves all the time. They get smart with us. We let them know who’s in charge. We are constantly asking each other for forgiveness. Then we start over.
There is no such thing as a “perfect family time.” But there are countless joy-filled memories that will hopefully have a lasting impact on them. We try our best to instill in them virtues of faith, hope and charity. We try our best to be witnesses of Christ. We’re not always successful. We’re nowhere close to perfect or holy. But we do believe that we have a tremendous God-given responsibility to our children. It’s more of a calling, a vocation. Our vocation is to do our best at rearing holy and faithful children. We may or may not see the fruits in our lifetime. And that’s ok. This is where we learn to trust God. One day they will grow up and they may not want to spend time with us. We realize that. But we’re not going to let that prevent us from living our present.
The fruits we have seen from having frequent healthy “family time” are numerous. Bonding time with our children:
- reaffirms their identity as unique and irreplaceable members of our and God’s family,
- nurtures their trust in us encouraging them to express their feelings and opinions freely without the fear of being punished or rejected,
- helps them feel secure and loved,
- helps them develop key social and behavioral traits that will accompany them throughout their lives,
- takes away unnecessary pressure and stress,
- strengthens their will and self-restraint as they are constantly reminded of their dignity as children of God and the expectations that come from that fact (they are reminded of this reality with concrete actions as well, not just words),
- envelops them with the courage and strength that’s needed to face the different obstacles and problems our weary world constantly places before us.
We also realize that there are many families who hardly enjoy family time. There are many reasons and factors that contribute to this. Many children who grow up without dad or mom or neither of them. Many parents who cannot find the time for their children. Many marriages and families are suffering from addiction, infidelity, greed, financial burdens, persecution, extreme poverty, hunger, loss of a loved one, domestic or sexual violence, etc. We have met families who despite the fact that they have had horrible experiences, they still try to have the bext family experience they can. But some people simply haven’t had a positive family experience. This makes us sad. We have conversations with our children about other families who are having a difficult time enjoying life in general. Our children pray for them. They also learn to be more grateful with what they have. While we can’t change other families or how they live their lives, we can certainly try to do our best to be a witness of hope and a beacon of light in the midst of darkness. We must also be very sympathetic, compassionate, and understanding with those families who are facing many obstacles.
We pray that the Holy Family bless and protect all the families in the world and that one day the entire human family may come together as one just as the Divine Family, the Father, Son and Holy Spirit, are united in the fullness of eternal love.
“The charity which burned in the household at Nazareth should be an inspiration for every family.” – Pope John XXIII