Why do Some people think it's strange for homeschool families to enjoy being together?
I don't get it. Family is supposed to be so much more than parents and children living under the same roof, tolerating each other's presence. I can't imagine a home without love, laughter, mutual support - and a few lively debates.
Family bonding doesn't just happen because we share DNA or the same square footage. Even though we may love and want the best for each other, a strong sense of family takes thought, time, planning, and actions.
And – no matter how different our personalities or dreams for the future, a family can act as a team, working together to reach a common goal.
Our family has experienced many different situations throughout our 28 years together; changing jobs and locations, minor illnesses and major emergencies, joy and celebration, deep spiritual wounds, failures and betrayals.
What has kept us together our dedication to maintaining and supporting our family unit; there is no doubt or hesitation – we have each other's backs.
This bond didn't happen by accident. We realized at some point that if we wanted to be a strong family, we had to improve our communication skills, learn to act as a team, and understand how each person can help create and maintain healthy family relationships.
It doesn't matter how you came together as a family; what is important is that each person is valued for who they are, and realizes they have an important role in keeping the family healthy and happy.
Here are ideas for family activities that can encourage strong bonds of friendship and love:
Hand each family member a piece of paper and have them list each person in the family. Next to each person's name, ask them to write the personality traits, strengths, talents, and tasks they perform, and explain how each of these abilities can be used to help and encourage others in the family.
- How many things do family members have in common?
- Which ones are unique?
Discuss how the family can use this information to make sure each member is respected for their gifts and the duties they perform, and establish a spirit of gratitude for what each person brings to the family.
With the same list, have each person write what they believe are the individual needs of the other members of the family, as well as their own. These should include more than just physical needs, but also mental, emotional, intellectual, and spiritual.
- What did this list reveal about your perceptions of each other?
- How can your family improve their awareness of each other's needs?
Now that you have discussed the needs of your family and how each person can contribute, create a plan for ensuring all the needs in the family are met by delegating tasks according to ability.
This plan should include more than just chores, but also how the family can spend time together learning about each other and the world around them, and how each person can serve the family in some way.
There should also be a plan for fun. Deep and durable bonds are created when families share laughter and pleasure. Simple joys like walks through the woods or on the beach, chomping on hot-buttered popcorn while watching a movie, camping out in the backyard and telling stories – it's not the elaborate vacations that bring families together, but the care you show every day, and how well you communicate with and listen to each other.
These activities are just the starting point. Family bonds and team spirit aren't developed during one conversation over dinner. Over time, as each person invests in the well-being of the family, the give-and-take of teamwork will become evident in how your family functions.
Do you have questions about how to encourage family teamwork? Share them in the comments below -
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