Katie Nahrwold writes:

“What’s normal? It is hard to remember what we ‘used to’ think of as normal as we reestablish our routines and schedules today. During the pandemic, our college-age son came home and we were back to our family of six every day, every hour, every moment.

To make the best of things with four children who have a 10 year spread (at the time 10 year-old to 20 year-old), we turned our nightly family dinners into themed-nights. We had Mexican night with festive attire, margaritas, and Mexican cuisine; then there was Greek night, Asian night, American night and so on. Each evening came with a corresponding cocktail, or our attempt at something semi-authentic, and our ten year-old heard dinner conversations that were not always PG. We have always been a regular-family-dinner kind of family, but those evenings brought us even closer together and our 20 minutes of eating and rushing off to the next thing became almost an hour at the dinner table laughing, talking and mostly being silly (and slightly inappropriate, thanks to my husband and older boys).

Since then, we still linger at the table a little longer, tell jokes that generally require plugging someone’s ears, and enjoy stories from everyone young and old. What do we really need to race to that is more important than time together? I think the pandemic has shown us we can all slow down and be ok. That multitasking is really not that great or special. That overscheduling and overcommitting do nothing to make you or the world a better place. So whether we have dinner with a theme or it is just a regular night, our family is blessed with this special time together.”

Rev. Christine V. Hides
Thank you, Katie, for showing us what happens when a family chooses a more playful energy together. A “better normal” for Children and Family Ministry means supporting families’ spiritual journeys as a part of our overall well-being.  This is why we are sharing weekly excerpts from the Parent Wellness Compass book focused on spiritual, emotional, mental, and physical health. This week’s article is called “Playfulness as an Activity, Not Just an Attitude.”