Family Recreation

One of the important topics discussed in my family life classes is the value of wholesome family recreation.

Why family recreation??

One of the main reasons family recreation is so vital to healthy relationships is that at the heart of family recreation/activities is rituals. Rituals and routines are similar, yet different (so don't get them mixed up!). Routines don't really have significant meaning and have little or no emotions involved, as opposed to rituals, which hold a lot of emotional significance. For example, coming home from work at 5 pm is a routine, but getting attacked with hugs and kisses from your family is a ritual.

If you really think about it, rituals are the glue that hold together family relationships. I won't go into great detail, because you can experience the importance of rituals yourself by really thinking about the relationships that mean most to you, and how you created those bonds. Without special, emotionally-laden rituals your relationship with a certain person would be just like any other acquaintance.

Rituals are the defining characteristics of relationships.

What constitutes family recreation? I've read at least 50-60 pages worth of articles and textbooks explaining, in great detail, what enriching recreation should consist of, but I'm just going to give the main points.

First, there are two kinds of recreation: core and balance. These two forms are very different, but they both contribute greatly to the success of a family.

Core activities are the easy, cheap, and most frequently occurring recreation. Like the name implies, it is the core of family recreation. Examples would be games, biking, snowboarding/skiing, playing sports, barbecuing, etc. My family has a fooseball table and lots of board/card games we love to play regularly.

Balance activities are the less frequent, potentially more expensive of the two. It's name gives the perfect implication: it needs to balanced. Family vacations are the best example because they can potentially hold a lot of happy memories and bonding experiences, but they also carry more stress and responsibilities than core activities. Balance activities are wonderful because they can create strong bonds between family members while they experience something new, but these activities need to be balanced with family responsibilities and core activities. As an example of a balance activity, my family took a winter vacation to Eastern, ID and snowshoed into a cabin where they stayed for the majority of Christmas break.

Second, recreational activities' level-of-difficulty needs to be well-balanced for each family member. If an activity is too easy it becomes boring and it really isn't recreation. If it is too difficult, individuals start to become frustrated and, well, we all know what happens after that... The best activities allow each member to play at their own level of expertise and have room to grow and improve. 

It can be difficult to find activities that everyone enjoys, and that may be why many families don't engage in recreational activities very often, or at all. However, it is so important to put forth some effort in planning activities that the whole family can enjoy. Why?
  • Better communication and social skills
  • Stronger sibling and parent-child relationships
  • Better coping and emotional management
  • Greater knowledge and/or development of skills (athletics, critical thinking, etc.)
  • Sense of accomplishment among individuals and family
Family recreation is great! The best memories from my childhood range from playing buck n' bronco with my dad on the trampoline to flying a kite on the Oregon coast. Do not ever underestimate the power of family activities. In The Family: A Proclamation to the World, there are nine essential principles listed for marriages and families to succeed: "Faith, prayer, repentance, forgiveness, respect, love compassion, work, and wholesome recreational activities." Family activities are considered as vital to successful family life as respect, love, and repentance! If you want a successful marriage and family you must incorporate wholesome family activities into your lives.

I'd love to hear any suggestions you have for wholesome family recreational activities! What do you remember from your childhood? What have you done with your own family?

Racing boats at nearby canal
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1 comment:

  1. Thanks Jess! I love your blog....it's always a perfect reminder to be better and keep enduring!