It’s almost time for the annual deck refresh. We wash off the deck and seal it. Deck furniture gets touched up with paint and the cushions are washed. We plant some pretty flowers in pots. After a couple of days, we have a beautiful, relaxing retreat for the warmer months. For years, this was a family project. We all worked together to make the work go more quickly and somehow managed to have a little fun in the process.
In fact, our family has had dozens of family projects. From creating a hurricane supply closet for an orphanage to painting church walls to washing the family car, our family has worked together many times over the years to achieve something. Sometimes it was something for our family. Often, it was something to help someone else. The end result in this case doesn’t matter as much as the process.
When your family works together on a project, your kids benefit in so many ways.
- They get to spend an extended amount of time with their parents and their siblings. Today’s families spend little time together as a family working or playing together. Oh, you might be in the car together or have part of the family watch the other doing something. It’s rare though for the entire family to be doing something together that also forces them to interact with each other. Family projects give your kids that gift.
- They get to see who you are as an adult. Sounds a little strange, but your kids basically only know you as “parent”. They don’t watch you at work or pay attention when you are interacting with other adults. A family project will show your kids your work ethic, your patience (or lack thereof), your sense of humor and more. As they move towards adulthood, they will be getting to know and respect you as more than just their parents – a godly adult from whom they can still learn and grow.
- They learn important life skills. Family projects often involve your kids learning new skills – like how to put together furniture or paint a wall. Common in years gone by, few kids today are taught basic life skills that will help them take care of their needs while also saving them a little money.
- They can work on godly character traits. Family projects are usually relatively involved. They require patience, perseverance, kindness and quite a few other godly character traits. It’s great practice, especially with their parents there to set good examples and encourage them.
- They get a better understanding of the concepts that God gives each of us different gifts and by working together – each using their gifts – we (and the church) can accomplish so much more. It’s also a great way to start exploring what gifts God may have given each of your kids. Without family projects you may not realize you have a child who is a budding artist or has great engineering potential.
So grab your kids, your spouse and some supplies. Spend a weekend doing a family project together. If you can’t think of one, I may just know of a deck that’s in need of a little refresh!