But I also think it’s important for you to hear from my kids and wife about what they think of family time. So… today you’ll hear from my son, Aaron, who is almost 20 years old. I’m going to ask him questions… followed by his responses…
ME: Aaron, how long do you remember our family practicing family time?
AARON: The earliest memories I have are when I was 5 or 6 years old, and we did family time then.
ME: What are your impressions of what was like in those earlier years?
AARON: In the earlier years it was centered around simply doing things as a family. We would sing songs, play games, memorize some Bible verses, but we didn’t do studies in the word. It was always something I looked forward to.
ME: And how did the way we did family time develop as you grew older?
AARON: As I grew older it shifted from an emphasis on simply spending time together to an emphasis to spending time together in the word, which was helpful. It helped develop my personal skills of Bible study, and thinking critically about what is taught in the scriptures.
ME: As your younger siblings came along, what things do you think were helpful in including everyone, no matter their age?
AARON: In the discussion times, my parents would specifically ask the younger kids questions about the text. From simple 1 to 2 word answers to basic concepts, just to get them to grasp the basics of what each passage was teaching. I also think it was helpful for the younger kids to hear their older siblings sharing their thoughts and feelings. I feel like my younger siblings were able to know me a bit better through that. Also, assigning the younger kids reading was helpful to get them engaged in family time.
ME: Do you think that regular family time/family worship is important for Christian families? Why?
AARON: Yes, I do. I feel that the more time a family spends together in the word and in worship, the closer they will become both spiritually and emotionally. The fact that I grew up hearing my parents’ hearts and desires that flowed out of the scriptures helped me to accept their beliefs as my own because I saw the truth in them from a young age. I’m very close to my siblings and I feel that family time played an important role in that since we were able to discuss the scriptures and learn about each others’ hearts.
ME: You said that your parents’ beliefs became your own. Tell me a bit more what you mean by that.
AARON: Instead of my belief being something that was “forced” on me, that I was required to believe simply because my parents believed it, it has become something that I personally see as biblical and from the Lord. I believe that family times played a key role in helping me see that, simply because from a young age I was mentored and discipled in the scriptures.
ME: Was family time the only time you feel that discipleship of that kind took place?
AARON: No, family time was not the only time… but it was a routine, scheduled time in which it did take place, adding stability and constant growth to my spiritual life. More in-depth, specific discipleship was done in a one-on-one context but the general basic principles were taught to me through family time.
ME: If a Christian family had never practiced family time, how would you suggest they begin?
AARON: It may be wise to begin with a few family game nights, just to get used to spending time together as a family. But I think you should fairly quickly move into not only games, but also Bible study so as not to make them dependent on entertainment for family connection. I think before a family begins practicing family time, the parents, being the leaders, must first make sure it’s something they are committed to and believe in. I remember, especially in my younger years, sensing my parents’ excitement about family time and their desire to continue it, which in turn made me excited about it. I feel that if they were not truly excited and committed I would not enjoyed or seen the benefit of family time.
ME: Do you have any suggestions regarding things we could have done better in family time?
AARON: I think we could have been more consistent. Though we were fairly consistent, I do remember times when we stopped for periods of time, which made it hard to start again – because once we were out of the routine, we kids typically had something else in its place that we didn’t want to give up.
ME: Any final thoughts or comments about family time?
AARON: Family time truly has brought my family closer together. In my opinion it’s not something that is merely a tool, but rather a necessity. I highly encourage people to do a family time!