How Intentional Experiences Can Impact Your Family

Memories in Macaroni

We all have routines that we prioritize throughout the week. Church, school events, sports, house chores, and a host of others. For my family, one of our routines every week begins the moment we get in the car after church on Sunday morning. Norah, our 6-year-old Type-A planner, asks me the same question every Sunday morning: “Dad, can I pour the cheese into the macaroni?” I’m not kidding, every Sunday. 

You see, we have eaten macaroni every Sunday after church for the past 6 years. Each kid has a part in the process, and they love it. Campbell, our 8-year-old son, picks out 4 boxes of Annie’s Mac & Cheese (we’re fancy, I know) and our 4-year-old Kate pours the noodles into a glass bowl while I heat the water. Every Sunday this happens. I can’t fathom what else we would eat if given the chance.  

Now don’t get me wrong, I still love mac and cheese after all these years. But the best part of the whole process is when we sit down to eat, my son will pull out a stack of family conversation cards. By now, these cards have been read dozens of times, but we love dreaming up new answers and trying to outdo one another with fresh ideas and new answers. My wife and I love every second of this because it takes a very ordinary occurrence (mac and cheese lunch) and builds anticipation for the kids. They love it so much they tell people about it at church which makes my wife fear that we have become the weird family.  

Rhythms of Intentionality

Over the years, my wife and I have become increasingly aware that we must build rhythms of intentional family experiences to engage our kids. The key word here to us is rhythm. If we don’t think about it often enough or plan for it, it will fall by the wayside. But when we channel the energy to keep it going, we’ve loved the results that it produces in our family.  

Now when you hear that phrase, intentional family experiences, several things could come to mind. You might think big experiences like a trip to Disney or an epic road trip. You might think of smaller experiences like visiting that museum you’ve passed a dozen times or catching a baseball game as a family. Or you might be thinking of family game nights or tossing the football in the front yard. Regardless of the size of the experience, I think we can all agree that they carry significance. 

We just celebrated New Year’s which also means we embarked on one of our favorite traditions that we do as a family. Every New Year’s Eve we all gather on the couch and look at photos from the past year from my wife’s phone. She streams it to the TV, and we start in January of the previous year and relive the best moments of the year. We watch and howl at the videos and pictures that we kept over the past 12 months. We remember the amazing trips and experiences, the small moments around the house that were captured, and even relive the school and athletic performances. We reminisce on what happened that day or that exact moment that we decided to snap a picture or video. It really has become one of our favorite times of the year as a family and it’s totally free and in the comfort of our own home. 

Odds are you have some amazing things that you do with your family. Some of them may involve serving others, going on a mission trip, watching your favorite sports team win it all (cough, cough, Go DAWGS), or going to an apple orchard and paying way too much for a bag of apples. The point is that we need to prioritize these family experiences and redeem the minutes that we have with them.

Written by: Mike McGuire – Manager, Family Camps