Three-year-old Elena’s brothers and sisters were arriving home one Wednesday night. I was trying to get her to sleep, but as soon as she saw the headlights coming up the driveway, she popped up and said, “Is that the Honda? My brovers an’ frwends are home!” Did she call her sisters her friends?
That comment has tugged at my heartstrings every day for several days now. Every time I think of it, I am reminded of one of my reasons for home educating my children. I want them to know, like, respect and desire to spend time with their family.
We have attempted to cultivate family friendship by providing opportunities for togetherness: camping trips, lively conversation during dinner, a yearly baking bonanza/Christmas cookie assembly line, Advent readings served with hot cocoa, volunteering en masse at a local community event, etc. Of course, we mothers know what happens when all the family is together in close quarters for longer than a few minutes —quarrels, complaints, making faces, inappropriate and hurtful remarks —but it helps to remember that this very thing is the training ground for life’s relationships.
If you are looking for ways to strengthen family unity and sharpen relationship skills, consider building family friendships for Advent season, even if you begin a little late. Give your children an emphasis on serving others and the true “Reason for the Season,” Jesus Christ—an emphasis away from the “I want” part of the holiday. Advent is the perfect time to examine and build relationships with one another as we look forward to celebrating the birth of The One who not only teaches us to love one another, but who wants a personal relationship with each one of us.
This article was penned several years ago by Kelley Richman, a veteran homeschool mom from Lost Creek. Along with her husband David, Kelley served on the CHEWV board for over a decade. If you’re wondering, Elena and her brothers and sisters are all grown now – and still love each another :-).