I remember discussing "intentional families" as part of a class I took at BYU. At the time, the phrase didn't mean much to me, but I find myself going back to it more and more often as time goes on and our children grow. The idea is that we, as parents, aren't just letting things happen aimlessly as time passes, but that we are purposefully, intentionally creating experiences to strengthen our family. The concept seems simple enough, but it is far too easy to lack direction in what we are doing with our kids.
Like Sunday afternoons.
Our church begins at 8 am, which means most weeks we are home around 11:30 and have a long Sunday afternoon ahead of us, which is great!
But too often, it ends up being an afternoon of "hanging out" at home, napping, playing aimlessly with toys, sporting a ragtag-Sunday-leftover-clothes appearance, and refraining from working, but not really making the afternoon meaningful for the kids (or us). Often Sam is gone for the majority of the afternoon with different meetings or visits, and the afternoon seems to drag on without real purpose in our actions.
(One day Talmage built a dinosaur on an afternoon like the one described above.)
Sam and I have discussed on several occasions how we can make the afternoon more spiritually uplifting for our family and how we can use the day for enjoyable Gospel instruction. We've had ideas, but we're far less than perfect at implementing them.
We have a special "Sunday box" that I've started, which is filled with Gospel-centered puzzles, books, coloring books, and other activities. We also have an envelope of activities from which we can draw to select a more structured plan for the afternoon. Right now the envelope contains these ideas:
-make thank-you cards for Primary teachers
-write in a journal
-watch a church movie
-visit our friend in the nursing home
-act out scripture stories
-make & deliver cookies
-practice learning General Authorities
-Skype with family
-do a craft from The Friend magazine
-write letters/make cards for family or friends
-read stories from The Friend
-record a family video--possibly singing Primary songs
-look at old photo albums/scrapbooks
-Primary song sing-a-long
I put together the box about 6 months ago, but we still haven't done a whole lot as far as "structured" Sunday time goes. So my question: Do any of my (very few) blog readers have ideas or experiences that help make the Sabbath Day positive, spiritual, and structured for little kids? Or any more ideas to add to our envelope?
In the meantime, Happy Sabbath!