The Importance of Family Night & 6 Ways to Make It Special

family night

How did we come to have a family night?

When I was young, I had some Mormon friends.  Every Friday afternoon they would say, “We can’t play tonight; it’s family night.”  I wondered in my young heart what family night was.

When I was a teen, I read Jo’s Boys by Louisa May Alcott.  Do you remember how her boys hated Sunday because it was such a dull, do-nothing day?  That thought has stuck with me all this time.

Then I had children.  Their daddy was busy attending Bible school classes, studying late into the night, and running his self-employed business.  I was always occupied with the endless laundry, homeschooling three boys while changing diapers of the other two, throwing together dinner, and making sure everyone survived the day.  Where was the fun?

Then I drew these three thoughts together, or might I say, God helped me put these thoughts into action.  I said to myself, “We can have a family night.  I can make one day special for my children.  And Daddy MUST  be a big part of the program.”

So I started a family night with six small children in our trailer, then on into deputation, then in language school, then on the field, and now am trying to keep it alive with only one chick left in the nest.

The rules that we developed over the years are as follows:

  1. Daddy MUST be there and participate. No book in his hands, no TV on, no other thought than the desire to enjoy his children.
  2. Lots of good food must be included.  (Remember, I had five boys.)
  1. All must participate.  Big brothers, little sisters, Mom, visitors.
  1. It must be kept sacred.  Putting it off, cancelling it are not options.
  1. The center of family night is the children and the activities must be planned with them in mind.
  1. Let the fun begin!!!!

*This blog is written with TCKs in mind.  Maybe an American child doesn’t need family night when he has SS class, youth group, basketball team, soccer practice, music lessons, parties, activities ad infinitum.  I think that I tried to roll up all of these “deficits” into one activity: family night.


2 thoughts on “The Importance of Family Night & 6 Ways to Make It Special

  1. I think family night is just as important to American children; the American family is practically non-existent with the falling apart of marriages and the busyness of life. My husband and I are an American family raising 7 children and we set aside Friday evenings to do things with the kids as a family…it’s important to us as parents and it is important for our children. One thing I would have you consider (and perhaps because your target audience was not American’s, this is why you didn’t take it into consideration) is that not all families have a dad. As sad as that is, it is a very real reality for many families…sometimes it’s the mom who is absent too. I think I would be more sensitive to the fact that family looks different for every child, that is the result of sin. Family night is still vital to single moms & dads raising children.


    1. You are exactly spot on. Thanks for the comment. Yes, family night is or should be important to American families, and yes, single parents raising their children also need family night. The central theme is…for the children!

      I am of course targeting the living-abroad families. In my experience I have seen the children woefully neglected in order to give more time and place for the work and the people. We are passionate about our work…as we should be. But our children should not be sacrificed on the altar of busyness for the work’s sake….whether we be at home, abroad, single, rich, poor, etc.

      Thank you for your comment. I like your point that it is important in America, too. That’s where we started, then on to Canada, then Africa, then the Middle East.


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