"Family Day" - Avoid the power struggle!

By Stephen C. Schultz

"Family Day" is a principle I grew up with. It continues on in my own family. It is a time to simply have discussions around important topics to your family. It's a time to have fun together. It's a time to demonstrate to your children, by example, what you as parents "value" in life. It’s a time to gain insight into your children.

In today’s busy world, it is easy to get caught up in our adult responsibilities of work, home and civic duties and then wisk our children off to their school, music and sports activities in a flurry of car pools, cell phone coordination and drive-thru’s.

While our kids may not know the difference, it is important for us as parents to not be so “Task” oriented that we miss those subtle “Teachable Moments” that seem to pop up in spontaneous ways through out the day.

Please allow me to share an experience. It was a cool fall morning and there was some yard work that needed to be done. I asked my son Ryan to come out and help. I thought it would be a good way to teach him about the value of work. He was nine at the time and had Saturday morning cartoons competing for his attention.

I said, “Ryan, you need to come out and help,” as I walked out the door.

About an hour later with most of the utility trailer full of brush, I walked to the door, opened it, and yelled,

“Ryaannn, you need to get out here and help me get this done…now!”

I then walked back to the trailer and started loading again. I heard the front door slowly open and when I looked up, Ryan was standing behind the door, poking his head around and proceeded to yell back at me;

“Why should I”?

I stood there having a stare down with my nine year old son. I felt my face flush red and started thinking of responses like;

“Because you need to get your lazy butt off the couch!”
“It will do you good to get out here and learn how to work!”
“Because sitting there watching cartoons is a waste of time!”

In an instant I had thought of those responses and many more I wouldn’t want to write…but for some reason I held my tongue. I said nothing. I stood there, my arms resting on the handle of the rake, watching, thinking and looking at that nine year old boy, peeking out from behind the door.

Calmness came over me and I simply said;

“Because I like to spend time with you!”

The door slowly closed and a couple of minutes later he came outside. He walked over to where I was standing, his boots and grubby clothes on, and proceeded to help load the trailer.

That experience marks a moment in time when the “rigor of yard work” was no longer a chore!

For those with children, teachable moments are always there. We just need to be prepared to take advantage and not be so “Task Oriented” that we miss those very poignant times in our children’s lives.

“Family Day” is the parental “Homework” that allows us to get an “A” on the “Exam” of Teachable Moments!


Stacey Fay said…
Thanks for sharing! I will have to remember this one for sure. :)
Thanks so much for your comment Stacey...it is very much appreciated!
Our Mom Spot said…
Outstanding blog post & one which covers a very important topic. In the hustle & bustle of life we need to remember what we're doing all this for - our family!
Thanks so much "Our Mom Spot" for those kind words. It's appreciated more than you know!

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