You know those moments when everything is going perfectly and then it all falls apart in slow motion? The second before your toddler elbows his milk off the edge of the table. The instant before you say that snarky comment that sets your spouse on defense. The insane laughter just before your boys accidentally head butt each other while playing superheroes.
Yeah….ummm…this particular family time wasn’t one of those moments. Oh it ended in full-on fall-apart chaos, don’t get me wrong. But instead of starting with shiny promise, it was ugly and doomed from the beginning.
I’ve been trying to be more intentional with my kids about real family time. Not just the family moments where we’re all facing the same direction towards the nearest screen, but where we’re all facing each other. You know. Like they did in the old days.
We’re trying to turn a new leaf where I actually make dinner (I know…I’ve shocked even myself), and we all eat together whenever possible. I even bought little conversation cards from the thrift store to get us talking, and I’m trying to focus more on the deeper life conversations, including prayer and talking about God. (Always interesting with a three year old.)
So last night, with the New Year right around the corner, I thought I’d create a cute little family moment where we shared some of our hopes and prayers for 2018 based on this cute little free printable I found from JellyTelly! It was the recipe for a perfect happy moment like this picture:
How easy could it be? What could possibly go wrong?
Oh, how about everything? (I think I need to stop using “cute” and “little” in reference to family moments.)
First, let’s talk timing. I decided to call everyone to the table while my poor husband was trying to pull together a meal for the kids because I was clearly shirking my previous commitment to cooking. So he was only half there, and my kids were hungry. (Note to self: never do anything important when the kids are hungry. I should have picked up on the “Jaws” music looming in the background.)
I asked the big kids to bring a notebook which lead to a disagreement because I didn’t make the three year old bring one because the blessed child can’t write. (By the way, does anyone know how to say “let’s be reasonable?” in 7-year old boy language?)
Then there was the part where I tried to explain in a calm, positive voice why we were sitting down together and what my plan was, which would have gone better if the children were listening and if I’d stayed calm and positive.
When we finally started sharing our hopes and prayers for the New Year, I sighed an internal sigh as my daughter shared that she hoped we all had good birthdays…and Christmas…and Easter…and New Years…and Mother’s Day…etc. OK…so she wasn’t exactly pouring out her soul. But at least she was participating.
My 7 year old apparently had zero hopes or prayers for 2018. Nada. Nothing. Zip. Big dreamer, that one.
My almost 4 year old was more interested in finding all the ways to bang or smash his new toy than in whatever gibberish I wound up saying in my repeated attempts to coral the family into a unified, vision-sharing, team. Someone should have gotten me a megaphone for Christmas.
The family moment finally ended when my husband put the 4 year old in time out and I finally stopped waiting for my middle son to miraculously access his joyful cooperative side.
Epic family fail.
Or was it?
We did learn to sit and share, even if it wasn’t even on the fringes of cute. Good things don’t come easy, and sometimes the fruit of our intentions starts with tiny seeds that we plant in faith.
But as our pastors shared today, we have to be bold, give up our fear, and be focused. Basically…we have to know what we ultimately want, be intentional about pursuing it, and persevere even when chasing that vision gets hard (whether that’s because of an illness, setback, or a child throwing a toy at your head.)
So this new year I’m sure I’m going to fail at something. I’m not going to make a meal every night, and I’m going to lose my temper with the kids despite my best efforts. I’m not going to be perfect and some days I’m not going to see the fruit of my efforts. But I don’t want that to keep me from trying, from planting seeds anyway, and from persevering into what I know God wants me to do.
My theme for this year is simply to persevere in God’s promises.
What are your hopes and prayers for this year? Consider yourself a part of my messy kitchen table discussion and share what you want to be intentional about pursuing this year? Where can you lead yourself or your family deeper into what really matters? What seeds do you want to plant in 2018?