No family is perfect. (If yours is an exception, please let me know.) But even though every family has shortcomings, there are definite steps you can take to make your family stronger.

What can you do to strengthen your family?
What builds up the mini community that makes up your home?

Here are a few things to consider.

A strong family…

Serves together.

Some people think of “service” as a feel-good opportunity, something fun to do that happens to be helpful as well.

But real serving…

  • shifts your focus off yourself, your needs, what’s hurting you, bothering you, and onto others, their hurts, and their needs.
  • reminds you of what you have to be thankful for.

Serving together as a family–whether it’s making a meal for someone, cleaning someone’s house or picking up groceries–also gives you the opportunity to have conversations with your kids about what it means to put faith in action.

“How does what we’re doing reflect our family priorities?” “Why is it important?” These are just some questions to talk over.

Volunteering at Feed My Starving Children, a non-profit that feeds the hungry.

Serving together is a shared experience that strengthens family relationships.

Prays together.

Have you ever tried praying together with someone you were mad at? It just doesn’t work. Praying with and for each other–And I’m not talking about a quick word of grace before your spaghetti and meatball dinner–keeps you accountable to each other and humble before God.

That’s because no one knows you better than your family. They’re the quickest ones to spot any inconsistencies with what you say (or pray) with how you live. 

Praying together also reminds you that you’re not just part of a physical family. You’re part of a bigger family–God’s family.

Is real with each other.

When was the last time you told your kids you were sorry, that you’d blown it? Most of us shy away from that because we’re supposed to know better. We’re adults after all. To admit weakness would mean, well, we’re weak.

But God says the opposite is true. Living authentically and being transparent with each other actually strengthens community (1 John 1:7). Confessing your faults to each other–to your husband, your daughter-in-law, your brother–and forgiving each other can bring healing and wholeness. That can only happen though when you’re not putting up a false front but instead are authentic and real.

Has fun together.

There’s something to be said for just being together. Not in front of a TV screen or sandwiched between other parents at your son’s hockey game. Not for entertainment sake or to occupy your daughter because she’s going stir crazy inside.

A strong family connects and relates on a personal level–going for a hike, making homemade tacos together, playing a board game, laughing and talking together. Being together gives you space to remember why you like these people who make up your family.

Hanging out together gives you the chance to enjoy someone for who they are.

What else would you add to the list?
What else makes a strong family?

As your family steps into the New Year, ask yourself and pray about how God wants to make your family stronger.

Then take a few minutes around the dinner table to pin down the how, when, where so you can put your brainstorming into action.

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