A couple of years ago I was reading an interesting article from Time Magazine about the demise of the nuclear family. One of the things they attributed this cultural phenomenon to was the loss of the family dinner table. The article mentioned that over the last several decades families have been eating together less often than ever before. The article stated that with the advent of fast food, busy schedules, differing obligations, and the TV, the traditional family simply has no time to eat together anymore. The outcome, according to the author, was an attenuated or weakened family structure that is not good for anyone involved. I would strongly agree with that conclusion because it echoes a biblical truth found in the book of Mark which says, “If a kingdom be divided against itself, that kingdom cannot stand. And if a house be divided against itself, that house cannot stand.”
Fragmentation in a country, a business, an athletic team, or even in the home can bring with it destructive consequences. The fragmentation does not have to be a result of conflict; it can simply be a result of not being together. Teenagers need the involvement and influence of parents and family more than ever. There are a thousand competing voices for their time and attention, and not all of those voices have their best interest in mind. Teens are making important life decisions which make the influence of a mother and father vitally important. Here are a few suggestions for spending more time with your teen to prevent fragmentation:
- Eat together as much as possible and talk about the day’s activities.
- Have a family night out or activity each week.
- Be a part of your teens athletic or school activities by volunteering to help.
- Go on family vacations together even if you don’t go far away.
- Build good memories by doing something fun together.
- Talk to your teens—if you are persistent, they will talk back (smile).
- Most importantly, just find some way of spending time together; it will pay off in the future.
Family fragmentation does not have to be a threat if we spend time with our families!