Friday nights in the Howerton house are special. With all the chaos, activities and church stuff that fill our week nights and weekends, we have officially reserved Friday nights for family togetherness. We intentionally try to protect this night, carefully shielding it from any other meetings or demands that threaten to bump it from the calendar.
Dubbed "Family Fun Fridays," these nights remind us to slow down and enjoy each other. Nothing else competes with our time. We don't answer our cell phones and we try to not check our e-mail, blogs, twitter, or facebook accounts. Well, we at least wait until after the kids are in bed. We play games, go to the movies or rent one, wrestle until the walls shake, and generally eat lots and lots of junk food.
FFF begins when we pick the kids up from school on Friday afternoons and we all decide together what to do. Last Friday, Alex decided to go to the movies and Caleb decided on a family pajama party. They argued back and forth, declaring the various merits and drawbacks of each idea. Then, I, in my Solomon like wisdom, not thinking they would take me seriously, said
"How about if we do both? We can wear our jammies to the movies..."
Silence at first. Then, in unison, with uncontainable excitement, they responded,
"Yeah! Great idea, mom!"
Oops. What had I just committed to? Suffice it to say that all four of us went home, put on our pajamas, robes, and slippers and headed to our local movie theater at 7pm. People stared, teenagers guffawed, and lots of other parents smiled. We were even greeted with a few, "Hi, Pastor Mike's!" from people in our congregation that recognized us and had also decided to go to the movies that night.
These family nights are about creating memories, about strengthening the foundation of love and trust in our family. They are like beacons of safety, like lighthouses in a raging storm. We plant these beacons and erect these lighthouses so that when the rough seas come (and they inevitably do), we have something tangible to hold on to, something to show us the way home and what matters.
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