When we think about what’s valuable to us, we often think about material things… our home, car, investment portfolio. We think about business success. We think about getting praise… getting the credit… all temporary things. But we should value relationships above results; the process above the product; what’s “God-made” above what’s “man-made”; serving others above being served; giving others credit above receiving the credit; investing in people above investing in things. Why? Because these are what will last. And if we value them, then we’ll receive the kind of satisfaction that no amount of money will ever buy.
We have been encouraging my father to collect old pictures and put captions on them to preserve our family memories. We want to share them with our kids and grandkids. What about you?
Well before you dig out your old yearbook and start telling “in the good old days” stories about yourself, change your course. Get out videos and photos of your children when they were little. Make it an event. Pop some popcorn, gather everyone together and go back in time. Pass around photos, watch those videos, and talk about the cute and special things your kids did when they were small. If you can, focus on one child at a time and have a special viewing night for each.
On this Fourth of July, let’s go back to 1776. On that day, 56 men signed a document that would change the course of the world. It says, “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal. That they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights, that among these are life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.”
Those are the words of Thomas Jefferson. Do your children know the story behind the signing of the Declaration of Independence? Do you? Take a break from the fireworks and cookouts to talk with your kids about the people of the past who secured the freedom we enjoy today.
What does modesty mean? That is a good question to ask your sons and daughters. It is especially good to address this if you have a pre-teen daughter. “All the girls at school are wearing these, why can’t I?”… “It’s my body; shouldn’t I decide what to put on it?” These questions reflect the timeless struggle between teen girls and their parents over the issue of modesty. This issue is more critical than ever in today’s society, where pre-teens are encouraged by the media and peers to act and dress years older than they actually are. Everywhere you look, young girls – whether in real life, on television, or in advertisements – are dressed in ways that emphasize their sexuality and, to be blunt, degrade the value of female character. This makes for a good conversation and you might be surprised on how much your daughters agree with you. They just need to hear it.
The benefits of eating together will last long after your meal ends. Studies show that families who eat together regularly are less likely to have children who smoke, drink, do drugs, become depressed or develop eating disorders. Their children eat healthier meals, do better in school, and are more likely to delay becoming involved in sexual relationships. Sure, the dinner table is where food is served, but it’s also where conversation is shared, values are conveyed and a sense of belonging is established. Make family meals a priority at your house.
In 1909, Sonora Dodd created the concept of Fathers’ Day to celebrate the many sacrifices her father had made to preserve his family after her mother had died. She described her father as a selfless, courageous and loving man. Today, 108 Fathers’ Days later, more than 24 million children in America live in fatherless homes. The absence of fathers from their children’s lives has led to poverty, low self-esteem, low academic achievement, juvenile delinquency and teen pregnancy. Fathers change lives. Honor those fathers that are working hard to influence the next generation.
Are your kids spending too much time in front of the TV or computer? If you answered yes to either of these questions, have your children volunteer. They can visit nursing homes (check into bringing their dog along to cheer up the residents). They can help out at your place of worship or at other non-profit agencies. If they’re curious about the medical field, have them volunteer at a hospital or veterinarian clinic.
Focus on their interests and let volunteering bring value to their summer.