01 June 2012

Bedtimes–Vital Family Culture

I’ve been thinking a lot about something said in the “Mentoring the Hero Generation” class I attended at the TJED Forum. Kent Bowlers talked about how as they gathered their family each night for family prayer it usually took them 45 minutes. WOW, I thought, that is a long time. He then went on to explain that it was a part of their family culture, and a vital part.

As I thought more about it I realized that 45 minutes actually isn’t that uncommon at our house. We had just been looking at it the wrong way.

In the April 2012 Ensign article, “Taking Time to Talk and Listen” by Rosemary M. Wixom, she quotes President Faust:

“One of the main problem in families today is that we spend less and less time together . . . Time together is precious time-time needed to talk, to listen, to encourage, and to show how to do things” – President James E. Faust (“Enriching Family Life,” Ensign, May 1983)

This reminded me of how much I have really come to enjoy our family gathering time in the evenings as I have changed my mindset from one of – “come on, hurry up, sit down, pay attention, stop goofing off, let’s read scriptures, it’s already late, past your bedtime” to and calm and relaxed attitude of “ We are all here together, isn’t this wonderful that we all can cuddle, and play, and talk about our day, read family scriptures, and pray together.”

Sister Wixom goes on to remind us that “Bedtime is a perfect time to talk.” I’ve spent years trying to rush my little ones off to bed so I could have some “ME” time, but I know in my heart that it would be so much better to spend the few extra minutes talking to them and enjoying bedtime, than the opposite fight at the end of the day to get them to stay in bed. The frustration caused and extra time spend doesn’t help my peace of mind – or theirs. Its time for a cultural change in our home to a more relaxed and loving bedtime routine for the whole family.

I’ll end with this quote from the same article, “Parents, talk about an interest of your child. Laugh about the past—and dream about the future. Silly conversation can even unfold into a meaningful discussion.”  What a great reminder to enjoy the silliness of children, and to allow the time for the meaningful discussion to come. We can create the family culture that we desire in our house, and evening are the time for inspiring our families, that takes time, so we must give it the time that it requires.

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