Happy New Year!
Technology, while opening up the global community to everyone, has robbed us of essential personal time and communication with each other. The most important factor in living long healthy lives is not money, a healthy diet, good medical care, etc., it is personal connection. Let’s make a goal in the New Year to be more deeply connected with God through prayer and others in ways that enliven our souls! Life is shorter than we think… we need God and each other for our salvation and sanity. We cannot take our cell phones and TVs with us to eternity.
“Prior to electricity and central heating, most families gathered in parlors, spending evenings with reading, sewing, and family conversations. The notion that everyone would retreat to bedrooms, kitchens, or dens, separating themselves from other family members, was unthinkable.
The communal nature of the family was natural. I can remember, as a child (this really dates me), sitting together with my brother and my parents, listening to radio dramas. Before the coming of television, families would gather for evenings in the living room, where children would play with Lincoln Logs, or play board games with their parents. That a time would come where everyone would run off to separate rooms for the evening, was unthinkable.
Evenings spent together as family is important, for these moments not only build a bond between parents and their children, but serve as important times in which to share family values. The old saying that “a family that prayers together, stays together” was a truism that is often forgotten. I remember a Catholic family that lived next to us who had a small family chapel, complete with altar, statues, and candles. Every evening they would gather to pray the rosary. That chapel left a permanent imprint on my mind, even though I was only six years old.
Family meals are also important for building strong moral and spiritual foundations in children. Sitting around the dinner table is a great time for parents to develop strong bonds of trust with their children. Dinner is a perfect time for talking to your children about their friends, or school activities. Family members that disperse throughout the house for the evening, are likely to function as autonomous entities, where family bonds are unlikely to be developed.
The domestic church, which has been such an important part of Orthodox Christian tradition, can not be developed in a family where meals, prayer, and social life are all in separate parts of the home.”
With love in Christ,