When you have a larger family, it is easy to be busy with the older kids schedules and to just bring the younger ones along. It was common for me to feel like we had 'been there, done that' and that we didn't need to do it again. For me it was in the area of field trips to places like Philadelphia and Washington, DC, for example.
It came to a head one day several years ago when I realized that this younger batch of kids (as I call them) had never seen the Liberty Bell or Independence Hall.
It happens easily in a larger family because, even though the younger kids get to an age where they can really enjoy and get something out of a trip, you now can't go because the older ones have jobs, and need rides, etc.
A few years ago, I had the thought that this is these kids childhood and that they needed to have one full of memories of something other than riding in the van to take their siblings to work!
We started to be more deliberate about going places, getting them together with friends. In short, we are giving them a wonderful childhood. We've taken trips, watch movies, read books aloud, visit with friends, help others, indulged in our love of buying books. We work together here at home, we listen to music, we laugh together. We enjoy each other's company.
I am not an advocate of having everything revolve around the kids. I believe that kids are a part of the family not the center of it. Our kids need to be involved with what we are doing. They also need to have responsibilities around the house. This is important.
I guess what I'm wanting to say with this post is that if you are still raising kids, be deliberate about what you do. Take the time to go on that bike ride together, or to make a run to the store for ice cream. Work along side them washing dishes and folding laundry.
Talk to your kids and get to really know them - know the things they love, and are interested in. Read the Word together, pray together everyday.
We pray together every night before bed. Soon Tim won't be here when the kids go to bed. I will still pray with them, but I am sure that Tim will read with them and pray with them during the school day. It builds closeness and lays a foundation for relationship.
Our kids only get one childhood. Let's make it a good one with lasting memories, strong foundations, good relationships. Tim and I like to say that we are not raising kids, we are raising adults. We want them to be mature, and grown up when they hit adulthood.
What are some things you did as a family that you have fond memories of?