I have been thinking about family time lately. Mostly because a family have just moved away from our church to live in a small country town, the chief reason (other than the guy's dodgy job here) being so they can have more "family time." Then I also saw it mentioned on a blog that I sometimes read, where the highly organised blogger was describing how she scheduled "family time" one weekend each month so they wouldn't forget to do it.
Don't get me wrong here. Family time is good. It should be a priority. And I would like to have more of it. Maybe we need to schedule it so it happens but I really don't think I'm up to living a life with that much scheduling involved.
But I also think "family time" can become a bit of avoidance strategy to get out of other stuff that's also important. I may be the only person who has ever done this (hopefully I'm the only sinner but I'd be glad if anyone else would confess to doing this), but there are times when I think to myself, "Oh, we should invite (insert name of friends who could do with some support, that new family at church, someone we might not find it easy to talk to, or anyone else really) around for (insert activity here: meal/afternoon or morning tea/swim in the pool/play with the kids). But we've been pretty busy, so family time is more important this weekend." Then of course, we continue to not catch up with those other people because it becomes convenient to use "family time" as the excuse. And we're encouraged to do this in the wider world, where "family time" almost seems to have acquired holy grail status...thinking here about all that work-life balance literature telling us that if we just had more "family time" the world would be a far better place.
I need to remind myself that it's not all about "me" or "us" as a family. Sure we should do things together as a family, but this shouldn't always come at the expense of others in our wider Christian family. These are the people we're going to be spending eternity with, after all. It makes sense that we should be getting to know them better now.