Bonding Tips for the family

 

Meet Elizabeth with her son, Isaiah, and husband, Pastor Edward

I’m a working mother who has been out of the house most of the day. But the enhanced community quarantine (ECQ) brought an unexpected change in our family routine.

Before the ECQ, our daily routine would go like this: 1) uttering simple morning prayer, 2) my child prepares for school, I prepare for work, my husband goes to church; 3) After a 9-hour work, I fetch Isaiah, my 10-year-old son, from school then we go home, 4) I prepare food and wait for the arrival of our daddy, Pastor Edward; 5) we dine together, 6) we watch TV for an hour, 7) we say our evening prayer, 8) then,we sleep.

As a wife and mother, I am always praying that I could spend quality time with my loved ones and give my undivided attention to them. The quarantine (not the pandemic) was an unexpected answered prayer.

During this home quarantine, I personally discovered simple actions and tiny habits that have helped improved our family life.  Now, I share them to you as tips for your own family bonding time (in quarantine or not):

Speak from the heart.

Be honest with your feelings during your conversations. Honesty is a pillar that builds stronger relationships and creates intimate friendship.  During this quarantine, I had a lot of time to talk with my spouse and son.  One day, my son asked me who I loved more  between my mother and father when I was growing up.  I was taken aback and I struggled between looking good by telling him I equally loved my parents, I chose to tell him the truth instead. So, I replied, “When I was little, it was my father that I loved the most.” And then I proceeded to tell my son the long story of my childhood.

Accept uniqueness in the family.

A lot of our personality differences were more pronounced during this quarantine. Our son has observed these differences and we help him understand our uniqueness as individuals.  My husband is my complete opposite – I like telling stories while he loves to listen. I love going out while he likes to stay at home.  I plan and he trusts tomorrow. I sleep late, he goes to bed early. The more I discover new things about my husband and my son, the more I choose to accept that we are all different from each other, and focus more on what we have in common — our love for each other, and our love for God.

Love and laugh together.

Love is the reason of existence. As God loves us, love is the roof of our home. It protects us and keeps us safe. When we feel safe, we are able to relax and enjoy each other. In our family, one of the ways we express our love is by telling stories and jokes with each other, and laugh together.  Remember to love and laugh every day!

Be a source of positive vibes.

As parents, we want to be in control of things and do things as we have planned. Sometimes that gets in the way of our children’s growth.  Last Easter Sunday, we planned to distribute breakfast to a few families living on the streets, and my son volunteered to cook.  Though I was apprehensive at first because that will take more time than usual, I decided to let him do what he wanted.  We were able to distribute the food but it was much later than scheduled. I had no regrets after seeing how my son enjoyed that sense of accomplishment.  We can be a source of strength to our children by believing in them and communicating that trust more often.  Encourage them and tell them they can!

Learn and pray together.

Any situation — even this pandemic — is a learning opportunity for the whole family. When the Philippines was put under the State of National Health Emergency, we, as a family, committed to pray daily for the country.  My husband, who is an Associate Pastor in Journey Church Philippines – Manila, leads our daily family devotion where we meditate on the Journey of the Israelites (Exodus 12).   The devotion time also allowed us to reflect on our journey as a family during this time of crisis.  As our family prayed daily, our son would raise questions about God and about bible teachings he was confused about.  We noticed that his prayers would be centered around the latest updates on Covid-19, and his desire to help other people was growing each day.

Start saving and sharing.

Now is the time to teach and demonstrate the value of savings and sharing. My son and I have practiced savings using coin banks. During the early days of the quarantine, I asked him if he is willing to donate some of his savings to buy food to give to 30 street families. He eagerly replied, “Yes!” I am sure that my son’s understanding of God’s love made him more giving of others as well. His savings is not for him alone but also for those who are in need.

Most of these practical steps we are doing now as a family came from the Celebrating Families: A Journey Together workshop that I attended from World Vision.  Since then, we have taken steps to strengthen our family through practical and realistic daily schedules, applying discipline-disciple principles, practicing the five love languages, and constant exercise of forgiveness.

As we enter into a new normal routine, we commit to continue practicing these tiny habits. We hope that through these our family will become stronger and better.  We pray and hope the same for your families.

Written by Elizabeth Garcia-Nunez / Published June 13, 2020