Once a week plan to have a Family Night. It’s a chance to get together with the whole family in a semi-formal setting in your home. Make it a real meeting with someone conducting, prayers, songs, lessons, activities and, very important, a treat at the end.
Of course you can make it as organized or as relaxed as you like, just don’t forget to make it fun.
Tonight’s lesson is about making yourself into a mansion.
One of my favorite quotes of all time is from C.S. Lewis when he said, “Imagine yourself as a living house. God comes in to rebuild that house. At first, perhaps, you can understand what He is doing. He is getting the drains right and stopping the leaks in the roof and so on; you knew that those jobs needed doing and so you are not surprised. But presently He starts knocking the house about in a way that hurts abominably and does not seem to make any sense. What on earth is He up to? The explanation is that He is building quite a different house from the one you thought of – throwing out a new wing here, putting on an extra floor there, running up towers, making courtyards. You thought you were being made into a decent little cottage: but He is building a palace. He intends to come and live in it Himself.”
Ouch! Yes, sometimes life hurts. One of the most asked questions of this life is probably Why? Why did my mother have to die of cancer? Why did I lose my job? If God really loves his children, if God really loves me, then why was I abused as a child? Why is there war? Why is there hunger? There are many answers to this question, none of them satisfactory when you are the one suffering. But C.S. Lewis gives one of those answers; it’s because having an easy life leaves you a very so-so, watery, weak sort of person, a humdrum, little person. And what God wants is for you to be a great person. He doesn’t necessarily give us the trials, but He does allow them to happen, because He knows if we turn to Him we can work our way through our troubles and come out on the other side amazing people.
Have a discussion about times when your family or individual family members have been through hard times or done hard things and how it changed your character, attitude, knowledge level and so on.
Do an activity to show how persistence and working hard pays off. Get four large spoons and two balls made of foil or small bean bags. You will have two teams. Each team has two spoons and one foil ball. The teams start at one end of a room and standing a few feet apart toss the ball to one another trying to catch the foil ball on their spoons. If they make a catch, they get to move ahead one large step. If they drop the ball they have to try again until they make it. Once they reach the far wall they can run back to the rest of their team mates and have them go (the number of times you do this will depend on the size of your family). Warn the players that this will be very difficult and they must not get frustrated or quit. (If you have very young children, just throwing and catching the ball with hands will probably be enough of a challenge).
After both teams have had all their team mates make it to the far wall and back, ask the kids who they think should get the prize? They will probably answer that the winners should get the prize. Tell them that God cares less about how fast or skilled we are and more about if we keep trying when things get tough. Since everyone kept going and no one gave up everyone gets the prize.
For a treat/prize have a fancy desert, a desert fit for a palace. Ice cream sundaes are perfect for my palace. Use fancy dishes, even if they’re just disposable plastic ones, something that looks fancy will make the kids feel special. Make sure to have at least two toppings and a cherry for the top.