Are Family Conferences Worth The Effort?
When was the last time you were frustrated with your children because they interrupted you and your phone’s ‘alone time?’ What, too soon?
For me, it started as an otherwise great day. My family and I lived in a metropolis, surrounded by millions of people, cars, and buildings. At times, it felt like all of the concrete was suffocating us!
Almost weekly we would venture out to the forest on the edge of the city and disappear among the leaves and pine needles. We hiked for what felt like hours (to my youngest), and we would find our spot down by the babbling creek. We set up a fire like we always did and hung our hammocks.
But this particular day, instead of delving into building a cool fort with my kids, I gave in to my desire to ‘disconnect’ from those around me by connecting my eyes to my phone. Flip. Swipe. Poke. Digital page after digital page, in search of something that would make me happy, all the while my kids were exploring creation and having a great time.
I was unfulfilled in search of fulfillment. They were calling to me, ‘Dad! Come play with us!’ But I was content to be discontent. Finally, my oldest came over to me. He pulled the phone out of my hands and confronted my attachment to my device. ‘Dad, we didn’t come here to play in the woods by ourselves. We came to the woods to play with you.’ Ouch. Too soon.
525,600. That’s how many minutes are in a year. I was using them poorly that day. We have so much time on our hands, yet we struggle to dedicate some of those minutes to meaningful connections with others — including our own families. Yes, we spend a lot of our moments on important things like working, taking care of our children, and planning for the future. On the other hand, we waste a lot of time worrying, complaining and squandering these precious moments on things that have no eternal value or purpose.
We struggle because we have filled our lives with people on a screen instead of the people right in front of us.
We are so easily fooled! Technology has deceived us into thinking we are way more connected than we really are. We text each other from different rooms in the same house. Family vacations are punctuated by smartphone cameras. Family outings have heads buried in mobile devices while the real world shines beautifully just beyond their digital screens. Wake up, people! Now more than ever, we must prioritize being fully present and engaged in the moments we have together as families! Because the truth is we are really aren’t even guaranteed our next breath, much less the next 525,600 minutes.
Hebrews 10:24-25 says, “Let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works, not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day drawing near.”
Attending a conference as a family is a great way to benefit from uninterrupted, dedicated, quality time together.
Taking time as a family to focus and fully present with each other, away from daily to-do lists, activities, technology, and all of the other things that distract us from connecting with each other creates a life-long bond between our family members. Family conferences can create opportunities to turn down the noise and listen to the ones we love the most.
Do you need to re-focus on your family? If so, what are you going to do to make that happen? How will you lead your family to spend the next 525,600 minutes? However you do it, we hope you experience the joy of doing real-life face-time together as a family. It’s not too soon!