By Dr. Gwen Smith
To build community requires that the members cooperate and have specific valued, unique functions and contributions and that they feel supported and loved. Activities ought to focus on building the strength of the community. Since we are dealing with family, here are a few excerpts from Parenting: From Striving to Thriving, Simple Steps to Living a Balanced Life, by Dr. Gwen:
An excellent way to build community is to have family traditions and routines that build memories for your children. The activities do not need to cost money, and can be quite simple involving resources you already have.
- Have a movie night one day per week with popcorn and follow it up with a discussion around the movie to teach important values. Talk about different scenes in the movie and use them to teach values of right and wrong. As questions: What could the characters have done differently? What would you have done if you were in their situation and why? What did you like most about the movie? Why? What did you not like? Why? This encourages critical thinking, a valued skill important in school and life.
- Plan a picnic lunch in the park at least once a quarter. Take the bikes if you can. Lay out the table and make it a fun activity. Go for a walk or ride after.
- Have morning and/or evening devotions with your children and go to church at least once per week. Find a church community that is loving, accepting and engaging. Go to where your children feel happy, connected and at home. Not where you are feeling happy and at home. Encourage their participation in church activities. This is where they can find other friends with similar values and you can form relationships with other parents with kids of similar ages.
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