Monday, July 19, 2010

Strengthening Our Family

Our family has adopted a family theme, taken from The Family: A Proclamation to the World. We say it before our family prayer each morning and night, to remind us of our goals in building a stronger, happier family.
Happiness in family life is most likely to be achieved when founded upon the teachings of the Lord Jesus Christ. Successful marriages and families are established and maintained on principles of faith, prayer, repentance, forgiveness, respect, love, compassion, work, and wholesome recreational activities.
Strengthening our marriage and family is a constant desire of Jared's and mine. We know that it will bring greater joy into our lives than acquiring beautiful or luxurious things, than gaining the praise and acclaim of the world, and than visiting resorts or other such fabulous and expensive vacations. There is nothing inherently wrong with any of these pursuits, but we know that if we choose to focus our energy and resources on having those things, we will be turning our focus away from the things that bring real joy.

We also believe that family relationships can endure into the eternities; thus, the investment we make in our family will not only bless us in this life, but also in the next.

The motivating factor for our recent road trip was a family reunion for my MIL's side of the family. We gathered together for a variety of "wholesome recreational activities" over the course of a few days, including a breakfast in the park, a trip to Temple Square, the baptism of my niece, dinner out, the children's gardens at Thanksgiving Point, and a few World Cup matches on TV.

Jared (only half-jokingly) corrects me whenever I refer to such trips as "vacations," that visiting family is never a vacation. Vacation is supposed to be relaxing, he tells me. Or at least seeing an exciting new place. Okay, a family reunion may not qualify under that definition. There is lot of work involved in gathering with so many people. There is patience required when you gather multiple family units together, when your kids (and everyone else's) are out of routine and sleep deprived, and when you try to get a big group to show up on time for anything-- even food. But the rewards are great. Some of my favorite moments of the reunion:

  • Watching all the cousins singing together at Emma's baptism.
  • Hearing Jared's younger cousins talking Star Wars with my boys-- which triggered Kimball announcing, "Teenage second-cousins are COOL!"
  • Shooting off fireworks on July 3rd with all the kids chanting and cheering together, interspersed with singing patriotic hymns.
  • Visiting the children's exhibit at the Church History Museum. The children had a great time exploring while many of the adults caught up after being apart for years.
  • Having my children be so sad when it was all over. This may seem like a strange favorite, but I am delighted that they love their extended family so much. That was the point of it all, wasn't it?
Some day we'd love to go on a family reunion cruise or spend our vacation exploring the ruins of ancient Rome, but I am pleased that our family can gather with cousins, aunts, uncles, and grandparents to make memories and forge relationships that will last forever.

What are some things that you do in your family to make it stronger and happier? And what are some wholesome recreational activities that your family enjoys together?


Steph @ Diapers and Divinity said...

Honestly, we do a lot of work/chores together. And look forward to "vacations."

I love your theme idea.

An Ordinary Mom said...

I love the family theme idea, especially how you recite it twice a day. We might have to adopt that one.

And I look forward to real vacations - where they are relaxing ... at least somewhat relaxing :) !!