Sept. 30th beginning at 5pm, a group from Essex County came together for a Thrive! Dinner. It began by making quesadillas. This was actually a new experience for some. In fact, one person admitted to googling it ahead of the gathering. As I think about it, we never had quesadillas when I was growing up either. It is something that we have come to enjoy thanks to increased exposure to Mexican food. Life changes as we open ourselves to new experiences.
As we sat for dinner, we shared fellowship offering insights into the highlights of our summer and our dreams. At times the room grew quiet as we munched away. It was a mirror of family dinners with their ebbs and flows of conversation. Sometimes we need a little help to keep everyone engaged.
We actually finished the meal early. Knowing that one family would be late, we took the time to be a little silly as participants paired up and took turns trying to empty a bucket of balls that was tied behind our backs by shaking it like Shakira. While there is video of this, we have opted not to include it here to protect the dignity of our participants 😉 If you want to see this in action, you’ll have to come to a dinner!
Playing with time
Once all participants had arrived, we broke up into teams and began a kind of obstacle course which explored the challenges of trying to manage time within families. Stations included “last minute science project”, “I can’t find my…”, “slow eater”, “dinner dilemma”, “homework”, “quiz prep”, “late for the bus”, “walk the dog”, “two places at once”, and “scheduling”. Each activity sought to mimic a reality in the life of families. Click here for a description of these activities.
Breaking off into our groups, we took some time to talk about the activities. When asked which resonated most with our lives, the parents recognised the scheduling as a regular challenge. We also acknowledged the struggles getting children to school on time and dealing with homework. It is frustrating that the way some subjects are taught are so different from what we remember. Sometimes we need to admit we don’t know and tell our children to ask their teacher.
Enter the Internet – did you know that the Ontario Ministry of Education offers free, live online math tutoring from an Ontario teacher? Check out http://www.edu.gov.on.ca/elearning/homework.html for more information. It is also possible to find videos and other helpful tools when you google a topic.
Family life today is surrounded by many challenges. From busy schedules, to meal planning, to seeking to balance work and life, it is easy to become overwhelmed. Still, as we gathered together at the end of the evening we recognised that there are those incredible moments when we are in our ‘happy places’, gathered together doing meaningful things. Our prayer is that we continue to make time for those moments so that our lives continue to include the joy, grace and wonder that comes with being family.
Thrive! A living manual for families uses the tools of social media and food and fellowship to facilitate conversation about the blessings and challenges of being family today. Check out http://stpaulstrinity.org/?page_id=2100 for more information or visit our Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/ThriveFamiliesManual/