Win a Weekend at Laity Lodge Family Camp!

I’m a huge fan of this camp as our family enjoyed an amazing week there last summer. Here’s a picture of our smiling selves at the week’s end. It’s beautiful there, absolutely breathtaking. And the staff is amazing, the food delicious, and the time with family wonderful.

If you’d like to win a weekend, simply share a tip or two about how you have fun as a family (share your tips), and link back to the Laity Lodge Family Camp contest site. By the way, you’ll see some pictures of various parts of our family on the flash photos across the top of the screen!

Here are 10 tips to make your home a haven in this crazy-busy culture, excerpted in part from Authentic Parenting in a Postmodern Culture (which happened to be the subject of my keynotes last summer).

We make our homes havens by . . .

1. By letting kindness reign. Determine to treat your children and spouse with the same sweetness you’d give a stranger you’re trying to impress. Remember it’s God’s kindness that leads us to repentance. What makes us think anything different would evoke our children’s repentance?

2. By welcoming hard questions. It’s okay to question. You did it, didn’t you? Give your children the same leeway. Let them vent. Let them worry. Welcome their wrestling. Don’t give pat answers; instead, let them work through their questions. Love them through a period of questioning.

3. By being there. Give your children the rare gift of your focused attention. Look into their eyes. Ask great questions. Relax alongside them. Dr. Ross Campbell says, “In short, focused attention makes a child feel he is the most important person in the world in his parents’ eyes.”

4. By limiting media. Steer your children away from mindless interaction with the TV or video games. Set limits and stick to them. Dare to believe your children are creative, innovative kids who can create instead of idly recreate.

5. By playing outside. We’ve lost the importance of outdoor play. Even if it means walking to the park with your kids, or swimming alongside them, or taking a nature hike, dare to move beyond the four walls of your home to venture out to see God’s creation.

6. By weeping and rejoicing at the right times. We are to weep with those who weep and rejoice with those who rejoice (Romans 12:15). When a child has a difficult day, scoop her into your arms and cry alongside. When she makes a great grade, jump up and down and celebrate with ice cream.

7. By cherishing childhood. Our kids grow up so fast in this crazy culture. Keep them kids as long as you can. Let them play, run, stretch, linger. Limit activities when they’re younger so they don’t become little stressed-out adults at age ten.

8. By reading together. The most haven-producing thing I do as a mommy is simply to read to my kids. I still read to my fourteen year old! Discover books on CD as a family, lessening the tedium of car rides without popping in a DVD. My kids have stayed in the car to listen to a story finish.

9. By laughing hard, but not at another’s expense. Joking and laughter are blessings you can add to create a fun-loving haven, but be cautious not to laugh at your kids’ expense or allow them to laugh at yours or others’ expense. Watch funny, clean movies together. Tell jokes. Tell funny family stories over and over until they become ridiculous. A lighthearted family that doesn’t take itself too seriously is a haven-home.

10. By practicing God’s presence in the mundane. Require chores of your kids. It teaches them important life skills. Even so, introduce joy as you work. Turn on the radio, dance, laugh. By learning to practice the presence of God during the chores of life, you create a productive, gratitude-based home.

So what are your tips? Believe me, it’s worth entering this contest. You won’t find a cooler, more beautiful, more fun family camp around! This one’s top notch!

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