Family Day is a great idea, but too bad it doesn’t occur more often. We truly need to focus on our families more and spend less time at work or thinking about work or buying stuff.
Imagine one day, monthly or weekly, when we focus on the important things: when no one works, when no shopping errands have to/can be run, a day where people focus on time with the family.
Imagine having the time to prepare dinner together and eat it together at the table, not in front of the television. Imagine that dinner was not something pre-packaged or cooked in the microwave. Some of us can imagine that day. It used to be called Sunday.
In my family, Sunday was a slow, lazy day sometimes, and other times a relaxing walk in the woods. We spent time together, played board games, and took care of a few chores. Note that the board games had no flashing buttons or noisy electronics; we rolled dice, moved our own pieces, and Yahtzee was not a video game.
To cap off the week, there was something called Sunday dinner, which was a big deal.
We sat around the same table and looked each other in the eyes and talked about our week (eye contact with our kids can tell us a lot about their lives). We didn’t eat in front of the television. We connected with each other instead of a screen.
There was no Sunday shopping when I was growing up. (I feel like the next thing out of my mouth is going to be that I had to walk five miles to school uphill both ways, but it really wasn’t that long ago.)
Somehow, our family got the shopping errands done during the other six days of the week. There was a focus on family imposed by an inability to shop. Miraculously, our economy didn’t come to a screeching halt. So what does that tell us looking back?
I feel we lost something when Sunday shopping began. Before continuing, I need to mention that I didn’t understand why people were fighting Sunday shopping. I thought it was terribly convenient, as it gave me one more day to hang out at the mall. I hadn’t thought about the cost of the convenience; or the creep of the economy on our family lives.
Typically only one parent used to work; now that is far from the norm. Then Sunday shopping encroached on the one true family day a week. Then work hours got longer and longer and lap-tops came home from the office for even longer hours.
Family Day, in the fact that it had to be legislated, acknowledges that we aren’t spending enough time with our families. How can we reverse this trend?
I doubt we will ever see Sunday shopping go away, as people have come to expect the convenience. Perhaps that is part of the problem. We expect. We feel we are entitled to so much. We have lost the difference between want and need.
Perhaps the family-aware can join me and enforce their own weekly family day and reclaim Sundays. We should invest more time in our relationships with both the young and old in our families. Let’s stop shopping on Sundays; we don’t need to buy more stuff. We can spend more time talking to our families, getting active together, preferably outdoors.
We are blessed with access to unparalleled nature and outdoor activities, but don’t take advantage of our “backyard” often enough. We need to reinforce exercise and a healthy lifestyle for our children.
Spending time with our families is not only important for our well being, but even more so for our children.
Family time ties us to our past and to our future, as what our parents did and didn’t do affected us, and what we do and don’t do will affect our children, and theirs, and so on.
Not only do children learn how to interact with their children from the way we parent them, but they also learn how to treat their parents from the way we treat ours.
Focus on family this year: spend time with your children, instead of spending money in the mall.