Dinner Table Game: Good Choice, Bad Choice

yesterday i talked about how we’re trying to make dinner a meaningful point of connection for our family. with little kids that leak everywhere and spill almost everything, it’s easy to find our focus during the entire meal zeroed in on keeping every kid in their seat and every piece of food heading in the right direction.
so how do we make it meaningful?
here’s something we’ve been trying lately that’s been working for us:
kids love games. so we made one up.
(really, it’s just 2 questions that we all ask each other… but since we called it a game, that’s what adelina thinks it is.)
the rules of this “game” are quite simple:
  1. everyone has to answer.
  2. and everyone has to be honest.

when it’s your turn, you have to share one BAD choice you made that day, and then you have to share one GOOD choice you made that day.

 

shanna has been really great about helping our kids focus on choices as either good or bad. we’ve been trying to avoid referring to people and ourselves as good or bad (the theological component of that will come later when they’re older), but rather, as people who either made a good choice or a bad choice, at a point in time.
on top of that, it’s important for our kids to see that we as parents blow it too from time to time. every day actually. and there is something powerful in the faith development of children and teens when they know they’re being led by people who are real and transparent about their shortcomings.

let’s face it… we all know they know we’re not perfect. and us telling them isn’t giving them license to do it, if it’s framed and explained in the right way.

these 2 simple questions have given us many great in-roads to celebrating and praising good behavior, as well as conversations (without being in the heat of the moment) where we can explain why certain behaviors are bad and not something we want to continue. some nights, apologies are given and moods are turned completely around.
what do you do around your table to make the conversation meaningful? i’d love to hear what’s working for you in the comments!

Becoming People of the Table

as a family we try to eat dinner at the table most nights. but if you think for a minute we’re batting a hundred at that each week, you’re quite wrong. some nights the table is too full of junk-that-needs-a-home, and it’s easier to just eat in the living room while watching one of our favorite shows. other nights the schedule just doesn’t allow for it. but, it’s something we’re aiming for and a strike in the “win” column when it happens.
both shanna and i were fortunate to grow up with great memories from times around the dinner table as a family. spontaneous laughter, conversations about faith, and moments of realness were all things we came to expect over the years. of course, the meals often included emotions as thick as the meatloaf in front of us, and there were many nights where we couldn’t wait to get out of each other’s presence and back to our own little corners of the house. in our hurried lives, especially with 2 little ones right now, the dinner table is becoming for us an important point of reconnection.
the mess is another story…

cooper mess

tomorrow i’ll share a simple game we’ve been playing at the table lately to keep the conversation real.

A New Voice On This Blog

my wife – shanna – is incredible, and she has a ton of great stuff to share. we’ve been talking for a while about trying to get a blog up for her to get some of that out, but figured it’d be more fun to write together on here.

so…

you should soon start seeing some content from her, right here on toomuchstarbucks.com!

when you see her posts, you won’t be able to like it, share it, and comment quick enough.

but please try your best.

there are moments where you feel greatness approaching, and for this little blog, an announcement like this puts us in that category.

i’m pumped… stay tuned!

The One Thing I (Almost) Always Pray For Each Night

with 2 kids under age 4, every evening is an ordeal getting the packages securely into bed. we would love to be the parents with always-consistent-routines and self-discipline that never allows for deviations, but those kinds of nights rarely happen for us. most nights, shanna and i look at each other and without words say “i don’t care how you do it, just get this one into bed, and get them into bed quick.” to be honest, many nights we feel like a struggling high school football team just trying to get something on the scoreboard… it doesn’t have to be pretty, just get the ball across the goal line.

whether they brushed their teeth or not, whether i remembered to change his diaper or get her in pajamas, whether they got  2 songs and a story or neither… i try really hard to be consistent with one thing: i try to always pray in front of them before they go to sleep.

the prayer changes from day to day. often we thank God for something we got to experience during the day, or someone we got to share some time with. we sometimes pray for the people we plan to interact with tomorrow, and we even include knock-knock jokes from time to time to see if Jesus will laugh. most everything we pray about changes from one night to the next, but there’s one thing that almost always stays the same. 

with rare exceptions, i pray every night that my kids grow up walking closely with Jesus.

Watch-and-pray

here’s what i know: as parents, we all have dreams for our kids.

and none of them are bad…

  • we want them to be successful,
  • and athletic,
  • and musical,
  • and good looking,
  • with good people skills,
  • and a hard work-ethic.
  • we want them to have just enough self-esteem,
  • but not too much arrogance.
  • we want them to have good jobs,
  • have good friends,
  • be good friends,
  • have a sense of humor,
  • get good grades,
  • go to a good college,
  • and go there with a full scholarship.
  • we want them to not be interested in dating until they’re 30,
  • and eventually marry the right person (that we select ourselves),
  • avoiding every form of pain and hardship,
  • and be self-sufficient enough to support us in our later years.

but to me, the most important thing – more important than anything on the list above – is simply that they get to a point where they understand that life only makes sense through an authentic relationship with Jesus, and that that relationship isn’t the side show in their life, or the thing they do on the weekend, but that it is the life-blood of everything they are.

maybe it’s because pastor’s kids get it rough, and many times come out the other end jaded by the church. and maybe i’m paranoid that my own kids will someday interpret what i do for a living as a job rather than a calling. but i just want them to know the Jesus i know, not because they “inherited” this faith or because they want to please their parents, but because they honestly searched it out themselves and came to the same conclusion that i did one day.

there are many things down the road that will affect this dream, for better or for worse, and more of it is out of my control than i’d like to admit. but i can pray about it. and i can pray about it every night.