Well, it is time to put a wrap on summer unless you live in Houston – then you know we have a couple more months to enjoy the heat and humidity. But kids heading back to school is a marker for the end of summer. I hope you have made some memories as a family – maybe a family trip, taking your kids fishing for the first time or a summer camping experience.
Before you get back into the hustle & bustle of school and extra-curricular activities, I encourage you to commit some time for each family member to reflect on a highlight of their summer. It can be around the dinner table or other family setting. Do not be surprised if answers deviate from your expectations. Takeaways from seemingly identical experiences can be very unique. Listen well to what is conveyed and you will gain insight into how you can continue to connect and grow in relationship with your kids.
“That is why we said, ‘Let us get ready and build an altar – but not for burnt offerings or sacrifices.’ On the contrary, it is to be a witness between us and you and the generations that follow, that we will worship the Lord at His sanctuary with our burnt offerings, sacrifices and fellowship offerings. Then in the future your descendants will not be able to say to ours, ‘You have no share in the Lord.’” – Joshua 22:26-27. The Reubenites, the Gadites and the half-tribe of Manasseh had settled on the east side of the Jordan, land Moses had given them. The altar served as a connector for generations to come, to help all remember that even though the Jordan separated them from the other tribes of Israel they were still one family worshiping the same God. It is good to remember where you belong. While we may not build an altar, when life happens it is good to see remembrances of family experiences via stories, pictures or other mementoes. It is important to make time to reflect and establish connections that will endure.
It was not an altar, it was a sleeping bag, a memento inherited from a key father-figure in the young man's life. Forty-five years after his first backpacking experience, the sleeping bag his uncle used still connects him with stories shared during and after that trip. Specific memories and the blessing that summer was come flooding back into his mind when he pulls the bag out for a trip of his own. A Godly man made time to reflect on a great trip and connect across generations.
Prayer guide: Thank You Lord for Your Word that provides all the reflection needed to connect with You, yet I have failed to commit the time to read scripture and pray. I have also failed to commit time to reflect on experiences we have enjoyed as a family in a way that will keep those memories fresh. Forgive me. Help me as Your representative in family to commit time to reflect on the blessings we have enjoyed this summer and nurture connections with You and with each other that will endure. Amen.
A faithful father commits time to reflect and connect in family.