Part Two: The Family Name

How To Connect With Your Spouse During The Holidays

Who is Ready for Part 2?!

Today, we talk with our kids about activities and what being a busy family of 9 looks like 

What activities did we do? How did we do them together?  

We were busy family with 7 kids and a lot of people going in different directions. As a family, we found intentional ways to connect, relate, and do life together. Here are some of the ways:  

  • Basketball: A way for us to play together through every season of life (we still play!)  
  • Working Out: Don modeled this and the kids saw the value of healthy living  
  • Scrapbooking: Suzanne loved it and invited the girls to do it with her 

As parents, we look at the bigger picture for our kids. Sports, healthy habits, and hobbies are amazing ways to teach our kids about family culture 

We also get to invite them into our world! We are not saying you need to come up with all new activities for your family. Just invite them into what you love! If they don’t love it, find something else to do together.  

Basketball was a huge way we developed culture as a family. Mollie is technically the only one who played all the way through high school (verdict is still out on McCade) 

In our family, sports worked because we didn’t mind if the kids played forever, or not. We cared about developing our kids and helping them learn.  

As a family, we used basketball to teach things like… 

  • Representing the Manning name  
  • Not being a quitter 
  • How to be a team player  
  • Fully committing to/pursuing something  

Ultimately, we decided, as a family, to be great at whatever we did. Eventually, each kid decided they did not want to be great at basketball anymore. When our kid told us, we invited God in and processed the decision together. This process built our relationship with each kid and is so worth it! 

Parents, be open to giving your kid the decision “power.” Focus on creating a culture of commitment and choice

In the end, it is not about the achievement for your child. The goal is for them to learn and grow through learning things!  

We encourage you to focus on growth and opportunity, not perfection.  

The truth is, (brace yourself) your kid is not going to be perfect at anything…. ever. So, do your best not to allow any activity to get in the way of the relationship.  

Attempt to see family activities as an opportunity for growth!  

McCade says something to sum up this point perfectly. Dad didn’t push us past our own goals. I see parents pushing their kids and honestly just trying to relive their glory days. The goal is to help us be better and help us reach our goals.”  

Here are a few other helpful tips to create family culture through activities:  

  • Themes for Toys: We would not buy every toy out there! 

Ex. We would buy all the girls dollhouse and add to it each birthday and Christmas. It created  intentional play and helped grow their imagination  

  • Adventure Trips: Going on trips with friends was great, but we wanted to choose family over reputation/preference.  

Ex. Maddox went on a school skiing trip and ½ the family randomly joined him. He felt awkward, but looking back he saw the valued family over his reputation. 

  • Mission Trips: We love seeing our kids serving Jesus together 

Ex. Mollie shared about a mission trip to Thailand. Damian (her husband) and Macy were  helping lead and Michael (in high school at the time) surprised them by joining 2 weeks before  they left.  

It all comes down to intentionality. Including your kids in everyday life models culture for them now and for the rest of their lives! 

What if my Family Doesn’t Like the Same Things I Do?  

If they don’t like it, just do something else! But once you find something, stick with it! As parents, we are invited to be intentional and find ways to be together 

Last thing, our generation is more technological centered than ever beforeSo, a media detox will need to happen. You will need to be intentional because the world constantly screams otherwise.   

Challenge: Find something to do with your family and leave ALL (we mean all) technology behind.  

  • It may take time for everyone to adjust, but we have seen the results of releasing screens for family time.  
  • Also, start small. Go 1-3 hours without screens at first and build your way into a whole day, or maybe even a week!  

Go ahead parents, be intentional and find something your family loves to do. Step away from the screens and create culture. We believe it will bond your family and create meaningful memories! 

How To Connect With Your Spouse During The Holidays

If you have a question or a parenting issue that you’d like us to discuss in a future podcast, email us at [email protected].

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