"More than ever, families are under attack. A culture of throwaway relationships; familial apathy and permissive values; and secularism, selfishness, and immorality has made the responsibility to build strong families more challenging and more important. The eternal truths in the proclamation counteract this culture and provide individuals and families with a guide and a standard, a kind of Liahona or compass to chart their course." - Successful Marriages & Families: Chapter 29
Wholesome Recreational Activities
"Successful marriages and families are established and maintained on principles of faith, prayer, repentance, forgiveness, respect, love, compassion, work, and wholesome recreational activities."
What is Wholesome Recreation?
"Wholesome recreation serves the purpose of not only having fun but also teaching and bonding in families. We learn relax and balance work and play. We learn cooperation, fairness, teamwork, personal growth, taking turns and more. We also learn that it doesn't take a lot of money to have fun. Societies philosophy, as shown in many television commercials, tells us that the only way to have fun is to buy expensive equipment and go on lavish vacations at expensive places. There is certainly nothing wrong with any of that unless that is the only type of recreation that we engage in."
Byron Webster, a faculty member in the Department of Home & Family at Brigham Young University-Idaho shared these principles that can help guide us in our own family recreation:
- Plan in advance
- Plan age-appropriate activities
- Plan activities that will foster development and bonding of each member of the family
- Limit the consumption of media (TV, Internet, video games, Videos)
- Intentionally establish rituals that connect family members
- Create one-on-one time with each family member
- Be of service as part of wholesome family recreation
"Wholesome family recreation can help us strengthen our relationships and reduce negative emotional and spiritual consequences. Wholesome recreation strengthens families." (Successful Marriages & Families: Chapter 22)
The Importance of Time
Families are spending less and less time together. Chapter 22 from Successful Families & Marriages explains why this is happening :
"In Europe, the average worker earns about six weeks of paid vacation each year, while Americans are lucky to get two. Overwork directly affects the family, adding stress and reducing opportunities for positive interaction. Parents work more, kids have more schoolwork and more opportunities to participate in sports and extracurricular activities, and, generally, more demands on their already busy lives." Wholesome recreation allows families to connect even with busy lives. Just a few activities together can have a significant positive effect in family relationships and connection. Not only is work and school causing less time together, but also the amount of time spent on screens such as cell phones, TV, tablets, and video games. "All of these escapist activities tend to isolate us from other family members. They may provide great relaxation, which sometimes is needed, but are not nearly as valuable in promoting family growth and development." (Widmer,Taniguchi)
Can you think of things in your home that get in the way of connecting with each other?
Write them down on a piece of paper and discuss them together as a family. Think of ways to limit these distractions and make a plan.
"..wholesome family recreation has been shown to provide benefits to marriages and families across the lifespan. Parents should carefully consider how they choose to spend their individual and family time. They should thoughtfully plan in order to create meaningful, memorable, and strengthening experiences for their families.
My husband and I spend quite a bit of time together. It is just us right now, but we love to spend time in nature! It is a great way for us to disconnect from the world and to enjoy the things that we love to do outdoors. Hiking, kayaking, fishing, and paddle boarding are a few. Both of us grew up fishing and spending a lot of time in the outdoors with our family, and so we love doing anything outside! We hope to involve our children in these activities with us someday!
Spending Time in Nature
Spending time in the outdoors is a wonderful way to spend time with family! It not only provides connection with each other, but with the earth. There is something so great about being in nature and connecting with others. When technology is out of sight, it brings the focus towards each other and the outdoors. Some activities in nature include: hiking, biking, walking, camping, fishing, walking a dog & much more. When these activities are done together as a family, it is engages everyone involved. Obstacles are overcome together while learning new things and learning how to cope in different environments. Activities in nature not only provide connection, but it can reduce stress! According to Successful Marriages & Families, "Simple contact with nature, such as watching fish in an aquarium, owning a pet, working in a garden, or having a view of nature through a window can reduce blood pressure, increase survival after heart attacks, and increase speed of recovery after surgery. " You don't have to go on a 10 mile hike to benefit from these positive effects either. Working in a garden together or playing basketball is just as effective as camping. Both involve a goal to be strengthened together while engaging in an activity. Teaching a child how to garden and being able to watch a plant grow is a great way to learn and experience success together. It is not only fun, but it is also is a wholesome experience.
Can you think of other wholesome activities in nature? Write down a few that you think your family would enjoy on a piece of paper and discuss them together.
When Nick and I were on our honeymoon, I discovered snorkeling for the first time! It was so much fun and we had a great time together. Being in the ocean is my favorite activity in the world. I realized that it wouldn't nearly be as fun without enjoying it with Nick. Wholesome recreational activities wouldn't be as joyful if we were to do them alone. It is great to spend alone time, but there is something about doing an activity with the ones you love.
Since we don't have a warm ocean nearby, we have to get creative with what we do have! In the summer, the lakes near us are great to fish and kayak on, and the mountains turn into a wonderful place to sled, ski or snowboard in the winter. It is so important to enjoy the things we do have instead of wishing we had more. Heavenly Father created a beautiful world for us, so no matter where we live, we can always enjoy His wonderful creations with our loved ones.
Other Wholesome Recreational Activies
There are many wholesome activities that families can do together, and they don't always have to be done outside! Playing board games, doing crafts, and cooking are a few. Each family is different and the activity is mainly based on what age the children are and their interests. Get creative! As long as it is "wholesome", anything goes! Joy & connection is increased as we make time for wholesome recreation.
Write a few activities down that you and your family and plan in the future. What are your children's interests? What are your interests? What principle do you want to teach?
Here is a video on Wholesome Recreation from the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints:
"Chapter 22: Wholesome Family Recreation: Building Strong Families" Successful Marriages and Families: Proclamation Principles and Research Perspectives, Mark A. Widmer., Stacy T. Taniguchi. BYU Studies and School of Family Life, Brigham Young University, 2016.
"Wholesome Recreation" The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Video
“The Family: A Proclamation to the World.” (1995, November). Ensign, 25, p. 102.