Family life is central to the Catholic experience. While we gather as a community to celebrate the Sacraments, the majority of the Church’s work happens at home, in the family. While busyness and a multitude of weeknight activities fill the family calendar, it’s important to spend time together each evening.
My family’s weeknight schedule varies from week to week. Although we don’t have too many regularly scheduled activities during the week, Alison’s work schedule does change, which means the amount of time we have fluctuates. It’s generally safe for us to assume that we’ll have 1 hour before Benedict goes to bed and 1 hour after he does. We spend most of that time together eating dinner, going for a walk, watching Netflix, or reading.
The family being apart during the day is essentially a necessity for most homes. Someone needs to work and the children need to go to school and participate in extracurricular activities. This busyness makes evening time together that much more important.
Family time isn’t just for the weekend. Family life isn’t relegated to two days per week. Instead, the family needs those daily connection points to remain strong and grow.
Certainly on weeknights time constraints weigh heavily on the ways families can spend time together. However, time constraints do not lessen the importance of this time. Your family can share a meal, have lively conversation, pray, read, walk, or any other number of activities. The most important thing is that you’re connecting. This is a time for the parents to communicate very strongly and clearly that their children are important and loved. This is a time for spouses to communicate very strongly and clearly that they are a priority. This is a time for children to learn the importance of family life.
If you’re struggling to find time in the evenings, you’re going to need to make some. Limit activities to those which end at a reasonable hour. Ensure that your kids have their homework done as soon as they get home. Manage your career so that work that absolutely must get done either happens at the office or after the kids are in bed. The saying rings true, “Where there’s a will, there’s a way."
The life of a family is more important than work, it’s more important than sports, and it’s more important than school. The home is the bedrock from which strong families can grow. Invest the time to make sure that yours is set.