[Ed. note: This article is part of our weekly series of resources for churches and families called Cultivating Community published on Thursdays.]
Does it ever feel like your family’s schedules are so full you don’t get enough time together? Is it hard to get everyone on the same page? Are there things that your family could be doing to care for creation that haven’t happened yet because of lack of organization? If so, it might be time to call a family meeting.
Having a family meeting to talk about steps you can take to care for creation inside and outside the home is a great way to:
- Teach your kids about creation care.
- Set concrete goals.
- Talk through your priorities.
- Make changes together as a family.
- Create a document to hang up in your house as a reminder of your plans.
Set a time this month to have a family discussion about creation care. Make it a goal to come out of that meeting with a list of things your family can do to steward resources, grow as a family, invest in your community, and spend time outside in God’s creation. Here’s how to do it.
A few guidelines for your family meeting:
- Ask Questions: Ask your family members what creation care means to them, how they want to change their lifestyles to steward resources, and what they think the challenges will be. Having a preliminary discussion can be helpful to get everyone on the same page before you begin.
- Involve Your Kids: Asking questions of your children and taking their ideas seriously can go a long way to getting them involved in any changes you want to make. Your kids will be a gold mine of creativity if they feel invited to be; ask for their ideas!
- Revisit the Foundations: Make it clear that creation care isn’t simply about a set of outward activities, but a response to God’s grace in our lives. Discuss the connections between God’s love for the world and our responsibility to be good stewards of it. Use it as a teachable moment with your kids.
- Set Realistic Time Goals: Make long-term, short-term, and immediate time goals. Habits can become deeply ingrained, and the process of examining and changing them takes time. Divide your goals into manageable pieces and start to take steps toward making them realities.
- Write it Down: Have a family member take notes on your conversation. When you narrow your ideas to a single list, write them down and display the list where it can be a reminder of what you talked about.
- Pray: Ask God to bless your decisions and graciously guide your family as you try to obey his will.
Ideas for Brainstorming:
Look over this list before your meeting. Implement whatever ideas suit your family and use them as a springboard for brainstorming your own.
1. Take some steps to save water indoors and outdoors.
2. Do an energy audit and commit to shutting off lights, changing lightbulbs, winterizing your house, and any other energy-saving steps you can think of.
3. Install rain barrels and use the water on your garden or landscaping.
4. Keep track of how much waste you produce and brainstorm ideas to reduce it.
5. Cut down on your use of plastic.
6. Use natural cleaning products.
1. Take walks through your neighborhood.
2. Do a stream cleanup.
3. Organize a swap and share event or create a neighborhood skills inventory.
4. Volunteer at an environmental organization. Volunteering can be a great way to learn more, meet people already working in caring for the earth, and help out in a tangible way.
Food and Meals
1. Practice hospitality by inviting people over for meals. Read “10 Ways to Make Your Home More Hospitable” for more ideas.
2. Try to eat seasonally and locally as much as you can.
3. Read Tim Schubert’s “The Global Dinner Table: How What We Eat Here Affects Lives Everywhere” and have a discussion as a family about food-related justice issues.
4. Prepare and eat a few meals together every week.
1. Choose a book about creation care to read and discuss as a family. Visit our store for some recommendations.
2. Make a prayer list. Use this as a reminder to thank God for the provision of his creation and to ask him to use your family to care for it on a daily basis.
3. Get involved in a creation care Bible study as a family.
1. Find the nearest park or wilderness area to you and take a nature observation walk.
2. Make your yard a place your kids want to be. Make an investment in a few items (like sporting equipment or roller skates) that will encourage your kids to be outside.
3. Go bird watching.
4. Play outdoor games. If you have a yard or a park nearby, a few games of Hide-and-Seek or Red Light Green Light can be a great (and free) way to have fun outside as a family.
Let us know how your meeting goes and what other ideas your family comes up with on our Facebook page.