Managing the Family Blender – Making Blended Families Work

Do you own a blender in your home? If you do, what type of blender would you say you own? Is it small, medium, or large? Is it one of those high-tech blenders with multiple buttons with different speeds? Or is it an older style blender with just a few buttons with only two or three different speeds? I do own blender in my home. I would have to say it is a rather large blender. As the man of my house and the head of my house hold, I take it upon myself to be the manager of the blender in my house. You see, the blender that I am referring to is not the kind that you may think. I am actually referring to my family.I have a blended a family. My wife and I both come from previous marriages. In each of those marriages, we produced children. When my wife and I met and fell in love, we decided to bring our families together to form one big family. We are what you might call the modern-day “Brady Bunch.” The blended family is much more common today than it ever has been. If not handled the right way, being a part of a blended family can be a nightmare. On the other hand, if properly managed, a blended family can form a bond that can allow for the removal of the “Blended” and can just be a family; a healthy, supportive, and loving one.My wife is 100% Dominican. She was born and raised in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic. She moved to the United States at an early age and lived between New York, New Jersey, and Texas. I am African-American. I was born and raised in Baltimore, Maryland. We are both ex-military and currently reside in North Carolina. Between my wife and I and our children, we bring three different ethnicities to the table. We also bring different upbringings, cultures, personalities, and attitudes as well. This can be a very stressful mix if the right frames of mind are not brought to the forefront. Luckily, my wife and I came to a very good understanding of how we want to raise our family. We both understand that we must have a sound foundation and that we must set the standards for our family and then stick by them.

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We understand that bringing a blended family together is hard work and it takes great effort. It takes time for a family like this to gel together. It is not an overnight procedure. It is also very difficult to put a timeline on a process such as this. Each family dynamic is different and may take varying amounts of time to achieve the ultimate goal, which is a single, fully functional unit of love, respect and support for one another. We also understand that it takes plenty of fortitude to be able to manage the large mix of personalities and different attitudes, wants and desires. This effort has to be looked at as a life-long commitment to making the family work and everyone has to get on one accord and do their part. My wife and I made that commitment before we even got married and we recognize that putting the blender to work in our family starts with us. As the head of my house, I feel that it ultimately starts with me setting the tone.Here are some concepts that my wife and I decided to incorporate into our family culture.1) Rules must be put in place to develop discipline and responsibility. Once my wife and I agree on a house rule, we hold everyone accountable. Each child is held to the same standard. No one receives preferential treatment and everyone who violates a house rule is subject to the same punishment.2) Communication on our part as parents is critical when dealing with our children. We have to always be in agreement with everything when it comes to the children. We never let any of our children play us against one another. Whatever my wife tells them, I back her up and vice versa. We never have disagreements in front of them. We save those for when we are alone and can talk things out in private.3) Respect is huge in our family. There are all boys here in the house. I am tough on them when it comes to respecting the woman of the house. There is to be absolutely no disrespect of any kind displayed toward my wife at any time. It does not matter if it is her biological sons or her step-sons. I correct with haste, any actions that I deem disrespectful towards her. Teaching the boys how to respect women is a priority of mine and I will work hard to instill that quality in all of them. I demand respect as well, but the dynamic of my relationship with the boys is slightly different and I go out of my way to distinguish that difference with them.4) Education is very important to our family. We try to instill the value of education into our children. We don’t just do that by word of mouth. We also demonstrate it through our actions. My wife is pursuing her undergraduate degree and I am working on a degree as well. They see us faithfully completing our school work as well as pursuing our career dreams. We want them to understand that they must work hard to achieve their goals and dreams. We make sure they understand that whatever they want to do or be, they can if they put their minds to it and work hard.5) Family fun is necessary for bonding and just being able to unwind and enjoy being with each other. We consistently do family events together. Whether it is a cruise, sporting event, going to church or to a movie, a trip to one of our favorite restaurants, or just taking a drive to Baskin Robbins for some ice cream, we spend lots of time together doing fun things as a family. We work hard, so we should play hard as well. We also support one another’s individual events. All of our children like to play different sports. We all support each other in our individual events too. We want everyone in this family to know they have a support system at home that they can trust and depend on.

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6) Love is the key ingredient that helps to make everything work. We try as hard as we can to create an environment that is full of love. My wife and I are very affectionate in our home. We show lots of affection in front of our boys so they can see it. I love my wife and I show her through my affections towards her. If they follow my example, my boys will also learn how to properly treat a lady, with kindness and respect. We also show plenty of affection towards the boys. We want them to know that we love them. We want them to understand that we desire to see all of them grow up to be happy and successful men.Our overall goal is to ensure that our children have a safe, healthy, and loving environment where they can grow, thrive, and become well-rounded young men. We believe that the six concepts that we incorporated into our family culture have begun to reap great rewards. We still have a lot more to do and a long way to go, but we are well on our way to a great start in developing our family. I believe the same concepts can also be helpful to anyone who has a blended family.Remember, nurturing a blended family is like making the perfect cake batter! Once you have all the ingredients, blend them together until you have a smooth mix. When the cake is baked in the oven at the right temperature for the right amount of time, you will have a nice looking, sweet-smelling, and great tasting dessert. This is the way I see my family, which is why I work so hard to make sure our family is built on unity, love, and respect. That is why I consider myself to be the manager of the blender in my home. Truthfully, every member of the blended family has to contribute in order to make the family a success. So in a way, each person is a manager of the family blender. Let the blender in your house work for you!

Seven Ways an Intervention Can Help the Alcoholic/Addict and the Family

Recently, I facilitated a family intervention and I’d like to share some thoughts on it. When the family called me for help, they were deeply concerned and frustrated with the alcoholic’s behavior. I was able to comfort them with the reassurance that treatment works and recovery is possible. They decided they wanted to be part of an intervention because they strongly believed they had to do something to help their loved one get into treatment.I began the intervention process by getting to know each family member. Throughout the initial process, I helped the family gain more clarity on their feelings, thoughts and the goals of the intervention. Soon they began to work as a team with a well thought out professional plan to address the alcoholic’s disease. They learned how to express their concerns for the alcoholic in an honest, direct and non-judgmental way. As a result of this joined effort, we succeeded in getting the person into a thirty day residential treatment program and changing the family dynamics in a positive way.As a substance abuse therapist and family interventionist, I’ve been able to witness how a family intervention can be a powerful tool in helping a person get into treatment. Most addicts and alcoholics are unable to stop on their own. It usually takes a crisis such as an arrest or a hospitalization to break an addiction cycle. We know that alcoholism is a disease which is chronic, progressive and fatal and like any disease it needs to be treated.

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Alcoholism is a family disease and the family is often uncertain as to how they can help their loved one who’s drinking has become out of control. This often leads to frustration, enabling, constant worry and many unsuccessful attempts to control the alcoholic’s drinking. With the expertise and objectivity of a professional, a family intervention can be highly beneficial to the alcoholic and as well as the family. The purpose of an intervention is to get the alcoholic into treatment where he/she can be safe and begin their recovery. An intervention also…1. Provides Substance Abuse Education- During the intervention process, the family receives useful information and begins to learn about alcoholism/addiction, codependency, treatment and the recovery process. Al-Anon’s three C’s-You didn’t cause it. You can’t control it. You can’t cure it.2. Promotes Healing for the Family- Alcoholism is a disease of denial. The family finally has the opportunity to overcome their own denial. “He/she’s not that bad.” “He/she doesn’t drink every day.” “He/she has a good job.” The power of the individual is transformed into the power of the group which allows the family to honestly express their love and concern for the alcoholic in a group setting with the increased possibility that the alcoholic will listen to them.3. Empowers the Family- Often the family feels powerless and uncertain as to what action to take which often adds to their despair as they witness the destructive behavior of the alcoholic. An intervention allows the family to know they did something positive and healthy for the alcoholic whether he/she chooses to go into treatment or not. They have at least planted the seed.4. Raises the Bottom- Many people think an alcoholic must hit bottom. The truth is alcoholics can hit many bottoms and still continue to drink. Sometimes this is due to the fact that he/she still has enablers who unknowingly support his disease. The alcoholic can often dismiss, manipulate or justify their drinking to one person. During the intervention, when he/she is faced by family and friends who are prepared to tell the truth in a kind and loving way, the alcoholic is positioned to take a more honest look at their destructive disease.

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5. Teaches Healthy Boundaries- Although you are unable to change the alcoholic, you can change the way you relate to them. Setting boundaries is all about telling the alcoholic what you will do if they continue with their unhealthy behavior which is exactly what takes place in the intervention.6. Express the Love of the Family- It’s easy to confuse the person you love with the disease of alcoholism. Many times family members can become critical, judgmental, angry, and resentful toward the alcoholic and the love for that person seems to be lost. An intervention helps each family find that love again and use this love as a transformational tool toward recovery.7. Changes the Family Dynamics Forever- The intervention usually helps the alcoholic get into treatment. However, even when the alcoholic refuses to accept help, the family has benefited greatly. The dynamics of the family have changed. The family is now educated about this disease. They are now more honest and willing to seek their own treatment. They told the truth and reached out to their loved one. They followed through on their plan and offered the alcoholic help.

Domestic (Family) Violence, Civil or Criminal?

There is a disease in our society, the hidden epidemic that is Domestic Violence and what is our system doing about it? Oh sure every state and territory now has specific Domestic (Family) Violence legislation but what does it do? Let me tell you, NOTHING!Only Tasmania and the ACT have enacted legislation that “criminalises” acts constituting Family Violence. No other state or territory has empowered judicial officers to impose criminal sanction on perpetrators. Laws exist in our criminal codes which can be applied in certain situations but they seldom are and they don’t cover the full range of acts that perpetrators can commit against their victims and that constitute Family Violence.There is little understanding and even less protection and justice for victims of what I see as being one of the most heinous crimes in society today. It’s well time that we blew the lid off this hidden horror; its victims have suffered in silence for long enough.Domestic or Family Violence has until recently been practically un-responded to by the Criminal Justice System, why? Because it has long been considered to be a “family” matter, the law ought not to be involved in matters between a husband and a wife that occur behind closed doors. Talk about ignorance! Only now is the law beginning to understand the true nature of Family Violence and just how badly it has been failing it’s victims for… well forever.So what is Family Violence?I’m glad you asked. There are many misconceptions about Family Violence. Generally speaking if you asked the average Joe on the street he would probably say “blokes who bash their wives” but Family Violence goes so much further and deeper than that. Let me explain…A single act does not constitute Family Violence. It may well still be a crime for example, assault but Family Violence is characterised by the ongoing and sustained nature of acts carried out over time and the violence is not always physical. In fact Family Violence is more psychological than physical and is based in fear and control. Acts that constitute Family Violence include…Physical Abuse (slapping, punching, kicking, pushing, pinching)Sexual Abuse (unwanted sexual contact, a marriage certificate IS NOT a licence to rape)

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Verbal Abuse (insults, name calling, degrading and intimidating language)Psychological and Emotional Abuse (threats, intimidation, coercion, manipulation, put downs and degrading comments and controlling behaviour)Social Abuse (preventing contact with family and friends, isolation)Economic Abuse (controlling money and finances, not allowing the victim to have money of their own)Overall the perpetrators aim is to control the victim and this is usually done by establishing a state of fear, a sense of isolation and dependence of the victim on the perpetrator. They will often say things like “Who’s going to believe you” or use threats like threatening to harm children or animals or themselves or threatening to take children away or even threatening to kill the victim. Perpetrators are often charming or at least to people outside the family circle appear to be a “nice bloke”. Hiding their activity is often part of a perpetrators MO. So powerful is the control that the perpetrator builds up over time that victims often feel like the abuse that they suffer is their fault and that they can’t leave because their abuser will find them and punish them for their “betrayal”. Often when they do leave the control that the perpetrator has is enough to coerce them back into the relationship. People who have been victims of Family Violence and have escaped (which usually requires assistance) will often need years of counselling and will still carry the emotional and psychological scars for life.Stats on Family ViolenceIt is estimated that…1 in 4 women will experience Family Violence in their lifetime4 out of 5 cases of Family Violence go unreported30% to 60% of Family Violence also involves child abuse20.8% of homicides in Australia are between intimate partnersIt is also estimated that the available figures are more likely to show minimum numbers rather than a real picture of the levels of Family Violence due to the under reporting and difficulty in detecting Family Violence.Now, down to the arguments…In December of 2008 the Victorian Family Violence Protection Act was enacted. This is a good example of modern Family Violence legislation and demonstrates that the Victorian government has developed an understanding of the inner workings of Family Violence for which they should be commended however, while this legislation takes great steps in the right direction it still doesn’t go far enough. Under this act police can now issue a Family Violence Protection Notice which carries the same penalties for breach (including arrest) as an intervention order issued by a court and police can also apply for a Family Violence Protection Order on behalf of a victim rather than the victim having to apply for a protection order themselves. This demonstrates the governments understanding that many victims of Family Violence who have been suborned by their abuser for years are simply not emotionally capable of standing up to their abuser and that someone else needs to step in to assist and protect them.Another example is that under the new orders, if a perpetrator is found at the home of a victim (assuming the order in place prohibits the perp from going near the victims home) even if the victim has invited the perpetrator in, the perpetrator will still be arrested, removed from the property and charged for the breach and the victim will not be guilty of an offence. This demonstrates the understanding of the coercive and manipulative power that perpetrators have over their victims and the need to protect these victims even and especially when they may be too afraid to ask for help or even say there is a problem.All of this is great but it still stops short of the mark, why? Let me put it this way, if you were to assault, threaten, bully, intimidate, coerce, harass, manipulate, control, deprive of property or liberty, rape and/or otherwise abuse any person who was not a member of your immediate family, you would be criminally charged and in many cases go to prison for those crimes but you can do any or all of those things to your partner (and some of them to your children) not once but repeatedly over years and the worst you’ll get is slapped with a protection order. No penalty for those years of abuse, just a stay away notice which has no effect on some people (According to Queensland Police Service Operational Statistics, between 1994 and 1997, 26.8% of women who were victims of unlawful killings had a current Protection Order against the person who killed them at the time of their death) in fact you have to breach the order before you will receive any kind of penalty and then you’re only penalised for breaching the court order, not for the abuse.

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There seems to be this mentality though that it’s different if it happens within a family, damn right it’s different, its worse! Worse because these acts of in-human un-kindness have been committed against the very people you are supposed to protect. Isn’t our ultimate duty of care to our family?Acts that constitute Family Violence are “criminal” acts and are deserving of no less than custodial penalty, preferably equivalent to the years of abuse committed at least. I know the bleeding heart brigade will disagree, I know they think that these people can be counselled and taught the error of their ways and that family units can be repaired. I by contrast can handle cold hard reality. These people are not just aggrieved husbands with personality disorders, they are dangerous and violent offenders and the first order of business is to protect their victims and provide justice for the abuse suffered. Sure you can counsel and educate them as much as you like, while they are behind bars serving a sentence befitting their crime. You can say what you like but I know that anyone who has been a victim of Family Violence will agree with me. I also know that as long as their abuser is at large, the victims will never truly feel safe and doesn’t that mean they are still living in fear of their abuser? So what’s changed for them?On a final note, if we stop and think about it we probably all know someone who is or has been a victim of Family Violence. If you know about someone who is in a bad situation don’t say “but what can I do”. Remember I explained above that often these people can’t help themselves? If you are aware that someone is being abused, do something! Talk to a Family Violence Outreach service to get advice. Talk to the police. Do something about it. We all need to take some responsibility for what goes on in our communities and to help protect the vulnerable.So, what do you think?… J Man

Family IQ Review – Looks Like an MLM, Smells Like An MLM, Wait, It’s Top Tier!

So I guess it’s no big secret that many distributors in the MLM industry like the Top Tier MLM business model and Family IQ a new Top Tier MLM is one you could be hearing a lot about very soon.Now after being in the industry for over 23 years, I am a huge believer in Network Marketing and have had the opportunity to work with many Network Marketing companies, and also serve on the advisory boards several.During that time I have worked with numerous variations of the “Standard MLM” business models and I have also watched and studied as each new compensation plan variation swept through the industry.At times you could almost feel that the industry was, even after 40 or more years still seeking a higher plateau of development, that magic mix of compensation plan components that would ultimately reward a distributors up front business building efforts as well as provide a highly profitable long term residual.Let’s see, Unilevel, Compression Programs, Rollups, Binary, Hybrid Binary, Coded Bonus, Matrix and so many variations of those it makes my head spin just trying to keep track of them.”So which is the best” is probably the question I am most frequently asked by MLM hopefuls looking to achieve success in Network Marketing, and form a new Plan A in today turbulent financial market. Well in the final analysis of course they are all profitable, all companies no matter what comp plan they use have top earners who’s checks would make you green with envy.The only issue is of course “when do you want to be paid?”That of course is the big dividing line drawn right down the center of the industry.On one side are all the “Standard MLM” compensation plans, no matter what variation of pay plan they may use, and on the other are the “Top Tier MLM” companies.If you have read any of my blog posts explaining the differences such as “Top Tier MLM or Traditional Which is Better?” you know that the basic key difference is the price point of the distributor kit a new rep buys when they enroll and how much the company pays out on the initial product package.Top Tier MLM companies usually have a much higher level of compensation on the front end allowing a new rep to earn a full time income from day 1 and Standard MLM comp plans usually put most of the profit on the backend residual which can take several months or years to fully develop.Now I thought I had it down pretty well and so I guess I should have expected it, an entirely new variation hits the market.Darn! Just when I thought I had it all figured out.Enter Family IQFamily IQ is a new “Top Tier MLM” with a fairly low end startup package and an aggressive residual MLM compensation plan on the backend.

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What…?I first ran into Family IQ when an online marketer I know generated about $33,000 in commissions in a month marketing this company last December.It kind of puzzled me so I did an extensive review of the company to see what kind of magic they had working for them and here is what I found.Family IQ is the brain child of Mark Hobbins who founded the company in 2001.Now Family IQ is fairly new to the MLM world since they just launched their MLM business model in about October of 2010 but the company has been around for about 10 years prior to that with an online business model offering according to the company website…”state-of-the-art family skill building tools to treatment programs and therapists who wanted to improve family relationships”.You know, Dr Phil kind of stuff………Then last year, Family IQ decided to go with a direct to consumer business model and chose a Top Tier MLM compensation plan.The Family IQ products are all online training and educational systems designed to help improve interpersonal relationships between family members, husband and wife, parents and children, and so on.So when a distributor signs up they get access to all the online training modules and since Family IQ has been compiling this training media for over 10 years there is quite a bit of it.Now most Top Tier MLM’s tend to use some type of educational product and most tend to be financial (such as Wealth Masters International) or self improvement related, but the Family IQ line is pretty much the first of its kind.I have to say that when I first looked at the Family IQ product line I was not sure about its success as a Network Marketing product but after doing some marketing research, I have been pretty amazed at how strong the appeal this product is.Several people I interviewed who were marketing Family IQ were doing extremely well and averaging 10 + signups a month. The Master distributor of Family IQ is Rod Stinson, who has been highly successful in the world of Top Tier MLM over the years. Now Rod has been in the MLM industry for over 20 years so he knows the market very well.Rod moved over into the Top Tier MLM business model years ago and has been quietly making a fortune by using some very innovative marketing sales funnels based on direct response marketing models.The Family IQ compensation planThe Family IQ sign up package is $1495.00 which is comparable to what a distributor would pay to join a “Standard MLM” if they purchased the top end product line when they enrolled, but in the world of “Top Tier MLM” where product packages usually range from $2000 on the low end to as much as $20,000 on the high end, the Family IQ package seems to come in on the low side.This is where the top tier part of the compensation plan kicks in because when you enroll a new member into Family IQ you receive a whopping 70% commission, earning a clean $1000 per new rep you enroll into the business. The initial commissions on the sign up packages are actually paid out daily since according to the sign up procedure the new person entering the business first enrolls on the Family IQ site and pays the company $495 to register, however they are not active status until they complete the payment for the balance of the enrollment fee of $1000 directly to their sponsor.That’s right, they pay you $1000 directly…..Nice touch! Most of the reps actively working the business generally have the new enrollee send them a cashier’s check by overnight mail and then the sponsor goes into their back office and activates the distributorship for the new person.So if someone really wants to earn money quickly, this system works really well since there is no limit on how many $1000 commission checks they can receive, and they can of course receive them daily.Now the Family IQ plan also has a 9 level “Unilevel” type residual pay plan that allows reps to tap into the ongoing growth of their organizations by receiving a $50 bonus for each new signup on levels 1 to 3 and then $24 payout on levels 4 to 9. This is very similar to some highly successful coded bonus pay plans in use today.To be qualified to receive the residuals, the rep of course must be active status by signing up for the Family IQ monthly membership fee of $79.00.The payout on the Family IQ membership fee is 6% on levels 1 to 4 and then 4% levels 5 to 9.Now part of the appeal of this deal is the powerful Family IQ automated presentation done by the master distributor Rod Stinson in which he outlines the advantages of the Top Tier MLM model and then shows numerous examples of his receiving multiple Fedex envelopes every day, generally averaging about $70,000 per month and even averaging about $103,000 in one recent month!Beam me up Scottie! I have stumbled into a parallel universe! Actually the 2nd or 3rd time Rod showed his dining room table covered in cashiers checks I think I actually sat up in my office chair and said:”Ok already, I get it, there is money in the deal, I believe you, now what’s next?”New reps when they enroll also receive one of these recorded business presentations and a replicated website to start spreading the word.So what does the future hold for this Hybrid – Top Tier MLM?Well from all indications Family IQ could be a unique example of one of the first Top Tier MLM’s to actually go viral.

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One of the key elements that has always helped fuel a new company’s growth is when people actually make money, and if you have a lot of people making a lot, it’s kind of like throwing gasoline on a fire, and there appear to be a lot of people in Family IQ making a lot of money.So dynamic growth aside, what actually is the appeal of this Hybrid – Top Tier deal?Well with Family IQ, I think it’s a combination of factors1. The price point of the Product: Even though $1495 is pretty low for a true Top Tier MLM, this price point makes it reachable by just about anyone who sees the opportunity and it pays a pretty whopping big commission for such a small price tag.2. The Powerful Webinar-On-Demand presentation that Rod Stinson does where he shows enough proof of income by way of Fedex envelopes and Cashiers checks that he could paper his house with them is obviously a big factor. There are several instances of this throughout the presentation and after about the 4th or 5th time you actually start to think….. Good Grief, I want some of those! All new reps get one of these “On Demand” presentations on their replicated website and the system even includes a special software package that generates free MLM leads off of the internet. Now I was skeptical about this until I found out it was a type of scraper software and I have used these before and they do work. All in all it’s a very good sales funnel and lead system.3. Company Credibility and Noble Product: Now this is where a lot of Top Tier deals fall down, I mean let’s face it we are all in MLM for the money anyway but sometimes the company just does not measure up. This is Family IQ’s strong point, they literally smack of credibility.So should you drop everything you are doing and jump on the Family IQ bandwagon?Well that depends on your financial goals and how quickly you want to achieve them. Now as I outlined in a recent blog post “Is Network Marketing Dead?”, the big appeal of the Top Tier business model is the GPT (Get Paid Today) principal, so it does give you the ability to get to the big money quicker, in 30 to 60 days as opposed to 12 months or more in a Standard MLM.Now normally in a Top Tier the back end residual is less than you would make in a Standard MLM but with Family IQ they appear to have an attractive Hybrid business model that actually pays both.I expect we will be hearing lots about this fast moving new company in the future.

Raising Christian Children Part 4: Plan Family Activities That Include Your Children

It may just be me, but it seems as though times have changed so much since the last generation of parents raised their children. It is so disheartening to see, read, and hear about children committing crimes are younger; children without both parents in the home more common. What is happening to our society?I read a transcript of a sermon by the Rev. Billy Graham from a message given about 20 years ago. In that message he outlined six steps that is followed would help keep children from getting into trouble. In this series of articles I am covering each of those six steps. I do hope that you will follow each article and I further hope that these articles will bless you and your family as you strive to raise christian children. Here is Step #4.Plan Family Activities That Include Your ChildrenIt is amazing to me that families are doing less activities that include the children. The parents seem to be just as socially active, but baby sitters are being hired more and more to take care of children while the parents pursue their desire to “get away”. Are we to believe that they mean by this that they want to “get away” from their children? Unfortunately, the answer is a resounding YES!. How sad. And we wonder why families grow further apart as the children age.When parents realize that they are getting away from involving their children in family activities they will realize that the main reason is their attitude towards raising children. When they brought their children into this wonderful world, they brought along with them the responsibility to give their children the very best of themselves. To give to their children the love and attention they so deserve and at the same time give them a family that does things together. Please don’t mistake activities to mean, as one mother expressed to me, “Our family does everything together: my husband takes my son to soccer practice three days a week; I take my oldest daughter to dance classes every week; and five days a week my husband drops our baby off at day care and I pick her up. We do everything together.” No, I didn’t give her a definition of “together”, I was too shocked to even respond to her statement. But hopefully, those reading this article are in agreement with me that this example does not meet the definition of a family doing activities that involve the children that is referred to in this article.Proverbs 22:6 – Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it.
Here Solomon issues a bold challenges, particularly to those who are parents and instructors of children, to the propagating of wisdom, that it may not die with them. Train up children to prepare them for what they are designed for. Train them up, not in the way they WOULD go, but in the way they SHOULD go, the way in which, if you love them, you would have them go. It is true that many children indeed have departed from the good way in which they were trained up; Solomon himself did so. But the early training they received from their parents may be a means of their recovering themselves, as it is supposed Solomon did. At least the parents will have the comfort of knowing they have done their duty and used the appropriate means.In planning activities that include your children your should first, consider the developmental levels of your children, then plan your activities based on individual maturity level. You can try more challenging activities to encourage them to progress, but remember that you want them to be successful at the activities. You certainly do not want them to get frustrated or bored with the activity. Also remember that your goals for each of your children may be very different. Family activities may be either 1) activities in and around the home or 2) activities that are part of a vacation. Either way, planning those activities for and with your children will make them feel more an integral art of the family.

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Here are some suggested activities that we found both fun and beneficial for our children.Activities In And Around The Home
When planning activities in and around the home it will require some sacrifices of time on the part of everyone in the family. Mom and Dad (assuming both work) are usually tired by the time they get home from work, eat dinner (supper for those of you in the south) and hopefully have a little time to relax. But your number one priority should still be your children. Why not set some evenings of the week for family activities (other than taking your kids to sports practice, dance lessons, music lessons, etc.)?The number of children you have and their ages will dictate what activities will work best for your family. The listed examples we what we used for our family which included three children: 12-year old son, 8-year old son, and 4-year old daughter.We planned our family evening activities around our children’s activity schedules and usually had two or three nights a week for family fun. Ideally, every night could be used for some type of family activity, but that is not being realistic in today’s busy world. For this article let us assume that you do have every evening available for a family activity is case your are blessed.In our family, Wednesday night was set aside for church service. During the school year, we had to be very flexible. Not every activity had all the kids involved due to various amounts of homework. During summer vacation time, more consistency in full participation was possible. Exception: our 12-year old was the star pitcher on his baseball team and they played several night a week until the All-Star team lost in the regional tournament. Here is a sample of our family activities in and around the home would ideally be:Monday evenings: Family Scrapbook Night
We put a lot of value in keeping our family scrapbooks. We had a separate scrapbook for each child and one for the family (we also had a scrapbook that was reserved for our family history: genealogy research). This may seem like “over kill” to some, but now that our children are grown, those scrapbooks are priceless to them. As each child left home, they took their individual scrapbook with them. We kept the “family” scrapbook and it stays on our living room coffee table as a proud reminder of our children’s lives from birth to present. We are still adding pages: GRANDCHILDREN!Tuesday evenings: Family Game Night
Our family really enjoyed game night. It gave us as parents a way to teach our children the importance of being both a good loser and a good winner. We live in a competitive world and as our children enter into that competitive world they need to be prepared for winning and losing and how to handle both in a christian manner. We would choose games that would involve our 4-year old. She loved Skip Bo as she loved to count. Yahtzee was another game that gave our 4-year old lots of enjoyment. Our boys even enjoyed picking up the dice when she would throw them across the table and onto the floor. Lots of good laughs: lots of fun for all.Wednesday evenings: Church Night
Where we attend church they have classes divided up in age groups so each of our children have their own class to attend where they not only grow their faith, but grow many friendships.Thursday evenings: Food Fight Night
Just kidding, but hopefully I have your attention now. Thursday evenings we work together as a family in the preparation of a special meal that has been planned (the week before) by our children. We allow them to decide the menu for a four-course meal and then we divide up the preparation appropriately. For example, we do not our 4-year old to handle hot items like boiling water or deep frying. (I guess I just have a dislike for emergency rooms.) One of the kids favorite menus was: 1st course of an appetizer (in this case cheese bread; 2nd course of mixed salad; 3rd course of spaghetti and meatballs; 4th course Italian doughnuts “Sfinci”. Assignments: 1st course – our 8-year old; 2nd course – My wife and our 4-year old (talk about your “tossed” salad); 3rd course – me and our 12-year old (he really got good at meatballs!); 4th course – everybody. When meal preparation was over the kitchen did indeed look like we had a food fight. Great fun except for when it came time for clean up. But again, a great teaching tool for seeing a task through to completion.Friday evenings: Football Game/Family Reading Night
During football season, we would go as a family to the local school’s football game. On the Friday evenings that the team was out of town we had our family reading time. We encouraged our children to read not only during this time, but whenever they had some free time. We would allow our children to chose a book to read and then involve everyone who could read to take their turn reading. As the years have passed we look back on our reading nights as special night of bonding as a family. Many of the books we read came from “Hooked On Phonics” material. We were very impressed with the entire “Hooked On Phonics” program. It deserves most of the credit for developing the reading skills in our children and their developing a love of reading.Saturdays: Arts & Crafts /Community Service Day
As a family we are arts minded. My wife is an excellent artist, I have performed as a member of several symphony orchestras. We encourage our children to pursue their individual interests in the arts. One project we used to lead into activities that are part of a vacation is the creation of a Family Vacation Savings Box. We used a “cigar” box with our kids, but I have not seen a cigar box in years, so any sturdy box about the size of a cigar box should work fine. We decorated the box with pictures of the places we want to visit on our next family vacation. We tape it shut and cut a slot in the top. As a family we developed several strategies for having money available to actually place in our savings box. One that my 8-year old suggested was to take the money we saved using coupons for food purchases. He had helped his mother cut out lots of coupons so it is easy to see why he would suggest this. His mother and I agreed. Our 12-year old placed half of what he earned mowing lawns in the neighborhood. He currently is the leading salesman for a cell phone company and his experience early might have lead to this success. He informed all his customers how he was using half his earnings for helping with the family vacation fund and his client list grew over the years. Challenge your children to help save for the family vacations. You will be as amazed as we were how much more enjoyable the family vacations became.As a family we are community service minded. Through our church we volunteer as a family to visit nursing homes, help with church and community events, and help many elderly or handicapped church members who need assistance with various tasks such as mowing lawns, cleaning their home, or preparing a healthy meal and taking it to their home. We wanted our children to grow to be caring and unselfish individuals. As we look back at those times we realize how close we became as a family because of our participating as a family in these activities. At first our children were not excited about “helping” other people, but after a very short time, the attitude changed. After each volunteering activity we would have a family meal at a local restaurant. We used the time during the meal to discuss how it made each of us feel to do what we had done. Our children would always mention “warm fuzzy” as a feeling after seeing the smile on the faces of the people we assisted. When we finally returned home we all felt a sense of accomplishment. Of all our volunteer activities, visiting nursing homes was our most memorable. You could see the appreciation in the faces of those wonderful people with whom we were privileged to spend some time getting to know.

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Sundays: Church was our primary activity every Sunday. Being able to attend the church of our choice as a family gave spiritual strength to us as individuals and as a family. Worshiping together with our friends was a special time for our family. A time of spiritual growth and appreciation for each other as part of a loving and caring family. After most Sunday services we either had been invited to one of our friends’ homes for lunch or we had invited guests to join us at our home for lunch. Either way, it was a continuation of sharing with other people with like interests and our children strengthened friendships with our guests children. Sundays were truly a blessed day for our entire family.Activities That Are Part Of A VacationSo as not to turn this post into the length of a major novel, I will just simply state that the planning of our vacations were done by everyone in our family. It was our goal as parents to choose a vacation location that could be fun for every member of the family. We never had unlimited funds for vacations, but you would have thought by the stories our children tell of our trips that we did. The “Family Vacation Savings Box” money was dedicated to our children’s entertainment and their souvenir purchases. Also, to conserve funds, we tried to plan a vacation route that would include areas where we could visit relatives. (Our adult children now refer to our vacations as “Family Tree Vacations”) This served a dual purpose: saved us money on motels and gave us time to visit with family members we had not seen in several years. As an added plus we could also gather updates for our family history scrapbook.We live in what is referred to as the Midwest section of the United States. Most of our family live in Tennessee, Oklahoma, and Texas. Two of our favorite destinations were Nashville, Tennessee and San Antonio, Texas. We had numerous activity choices in both. When we went to Nashville, we routed through Kansas City as our 12-year old was a fan of the Kansas City Royals baseball team. So, he wanted to go to a baseball game. Our 8-year old was taking guitar lessons, so he wanted to go to the “Grand Ole Opry” in Nashville. Being as both locations had theme parks, our 4-year old was quite satisfied to ride anything that was slow. My wife and I enjoyed all the selections our children made, we had to as they put up with our visiting the relatives on both sides of the family.It is my hope that this article will encourage you, the reader, to start involving your children in your activity planning if you don’t do so already. If you are including your children in your activity planning, may this article give you some ideas to give your activities some variety. Raising christian children is such a challenge in today’s world. We as parents should be challenged to find as many methods as we can to involve our children in wholesome activities that will encourage them to consistently keep their focus on things eternal. May God bless your and your family!