Good morning, Five Minute Families! Last week we discussed WHY your family may be dealing with boredom. This week is HOW to combat boredom as a family. Since you can find hundreds of detailed activities on the internet, we aren’t going to reinvent the wheel here.
We want you to begin by getting into the specifics about your family’s identity so that you know HOW to combat boredom in a way that will reach the hearts and minds of your unique family unit. For example, if I suggested a “self-care” evening with manicures and pedicures to my family of men, they would likely be just as bored as doing nothing for days. However, if my brother-in-law suggested the same thing to his house full of females, it might be a hit. A stereotypical example, but I think you see what I mean.
Five-minute families, parents especially, you must begin by taking responsibility for the why of the family boredom. One of the main REASONS for boredom is a lack of meaning, so the first step is to combat ongoing boredom is to pray and find meaning in your family life. If you are simply going through the motions of school, sports, chore, church, repeat, then you need to focus your devotional time asking God to give you direction on the unique purpose that your family holds in His kingdom. He has one; it might not be as renowned as Billy Graham’s family or even your own pastor’s family, but your family’s role in God’s kingdom is JUST AS IMPORTANT as theirs. Romans 12:6 reminds us, we have “gifts that differ according to the grace given to us, let us use them.”
Next up, get creative. Try to think outside the box. We know that God is able to do far more abundantly than all that we can think of (Ephesians 3:20), so ask Him for ideas. Maybe your family used to love going to the park but now that the kids are little older, you can’t think of what to do. A longer hike and trail plan might do, but you might be ready for a complete change. Something odd like beginning to organize old photos and talk about the people in their past and their legacy of Christ-following. Maybe write a book together. Obviously, the list is endless. Spend a bit of time doing an internet search for creative ideas.
Remember, you need to get organized. Once you have an idea, present it to the family. Have details -dates and places – in mind. Children need structure, but so do we parents, and by preparing ahead of time, you will be able to answer most questions that threaten to throw you all back into the loop of indecision. Apply Proverbs 21:5 here – “The plans of the diligent lead surely to abundance, but everyone who is hasty comes only to poverty.”
Now, we just said get organized, but you also need to be spontaneous. And, no, those two things are not contradictory terms. The more organized you are about options, the more flexibility you have to add in something spontaneously. Some families are so over-scheduled that having some time at home is a welcome reprieve. Those times are not what we are talking about. We are talking about the times when ‘nothing of consequence’ happening, and no relationships are being deepened. When down time allows, pull out some of those organized ideas and offer the family some fun time together at a moment’s notice. In both Ephesians 5:16 and Colossians 4:5, Paul encourages us to “make the most of every opportunity!”
Don’t forget that you are going to have to get active here. If you are a lazy person (come on now, you know who you are), then you might have to push yourself to get into the habit of engaging. If you are an active person who doesn’t include the slower people in your family, you might have to slow down a bit. If you as the parent are ill, you might have to bring in help or accept options that don’t include you in the moment, but if you have been integral in the planning and you are focused in the sharing, then even you can participate as physical and mental health allow. Whether you are lazy, scared, ill, uninterested, or indifferent, you have to come into the next level of activity, whatever that may be for you. 1 Timothy 4:14 admonishes us, “Do not neglect the gift you have.”
God gives us good and wonderful gifts, unique talents for His purposes. No moment is useless to the Lord, and that includes restful, playful, and connective moments. Just as the musically talented family shares their gifts through concerts and songs around the campfire, we each can share our gifts.
Be ready to share your gifts and interests to lift the spirits of your family members as well as the world at large. Be blessed!