“If help and salvation are to come, they can only come from the children, for the children are the makers of men.” - Maria Montessori
So a few days ago I blogged about being more intentional and having a vision for my family. My first step was to pull The Intentional Family from the shelf and dust it off. We bought this book a few years ago on recommendation from a friend of ours who’s a marriage/family therapist. I read it then, but I recently skimmed through it another time. According the Doherty, we’re doing pretty well about being intentional. He basically focuses on three areas: family meals, family outings, and holidays.
Family meals: Check. We sit down every night together for supper. The TV is off. It’s a great family time where we talk about everyone’s day. And keep telling the kids to eat. (The author has suggestions for picky eaters, too.)
Family outings/activities: Our most popular outing is going to the movies together. We also have outings that don’t include everyone – such as me taking the kids to the library every couple of weeks or Steven taking Madeleine to the driving range sometimes. I think this is definitely one area in which we can improve. Steven and I sometimes disagree on what we consider fun family activities, but I think we can find a middle ground if we poll the kids and ask them what they would like to do.
Holiday traditions: We have lots of traditions all year long, actually, but particularly during the Christmas/Advent season. Some are spiritual, some are just for fun, some are just the four of us while others are with extended family. For example, tomorrow we will celebrate St. Nicholas and hang our stockings, which he will fill with chocolate coins and goodies while we are sleeping. (And yes, Santa comes Christmas Eve, too, but Dec 6 is St. Nicholas Day.)
Here’s the thing: this book just scratches the surface of what I’m thinking about when I talk about being intentional. It’s a great book for a family that is just starting out with trying to build family traditions, or for a couple about to have kids.
But I’m getting at something deeper, more meaningful, more integral to molding our kids (and ourselves) into the people we want them to be in the world. Vision. Worldview. Emotionally and spiritually healthy. Some little things, yes: Better home organization, family game night, training the kids to do chores (ugh – they hate picking up as much as I do!). But the start is something found in the soul.
“Of all holy works, the education of children is the most holy.” – St. Theophan the Recluse