Scribit Veritas

Protecting the Child, Preserving the Family, and Honoring Life

Family Recreation (pt. 2): The Logistics

family-recreation2Aristotle described the good life as being characterized by the habit of virtuous action. Today there is too much focus on feeling good. We choose activities and purchase things that make us feel good. This isn’t what makes us happy though. With the rise of materialism in society, there has also been a rise of depression throughout the nation.

The good life, according to Aristotle, contains leisure that is intellectually simulating, creative, moral, and conductive to good human relationships. Aristotle stated what modern research has confirmed, “Virtue-not seeking pleasure, but doing good-is what will help you be happy.” We can learn to incorporate all of these aspects into our family activities.


Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi’s Flow Theory

When we are working on something we need to find our flow; we need to balance the challenge of our task with our skill level. When our skill levels are high and the challege is low, we are bored. If the task is too far above our skill level we get anxious or frustrated. We have the best experience when our skill level and the task’s challege are balanced, or we have reached flow. (see diagram below)

Flow is characterized by challenge, merging of action with environment, clear goals and feedback, concentration on the task, sense of control, loss of self-consciousness, and transformation of time. We need to be doing activities that allow us to reach flow. This can be a challenge for families of differing skill levels to all reach flow while doing the same activity. Parents can have older children teach younger children how to play, they can let children participate in helping older family members play the game (moving pieces, picking up the cards), or they can break up the family into groups based on skill level.

Keeping these principles in mind as we plan family activities can help make the experience more enjoyable for the whole family.

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Image from: (camping family) (Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi’s Flow Theory)

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Family Recreation (pt. 1): The Benefits

Charles Francis Adams was a grandson of the second president of the United States, a successful lawyer, and ambassador to Great Britain. He took his son fishing one day and wrote in his journal “Went fishing with my son today. A day wasted.” On the same day, his son wrote “Went fishing with my father today, the most wonderful day of my life.”


Family recreation gives us opportunities “to affect the lives of our children [and] we do not always realize how much they want to be with us.” Recreation is defined as “a leisure time we use to restore, refresh, and regain control in our lives. It provides opportunities for accomplishment and fosters feelings of self-worth, enjoyment, and pleasure. It is also socially constructed and morally acceptable.”

A survey found playing with our children as one of the most pleasurable activities we participate in, but the survey also found that we spend more of our time doing things that aren’t as pleasurable like watching TV. This is sad, as research has found many benefits related to families playing together. Playing together as a family is pleasurable for all family members, helps parents communicate on children’s level, and helps children feel loved. Family recreation promotes family bonding and child development. Parents feel a sense of control and experience intellectual growth. Children learn social and language skills and gain more appreciation for the natural world.

Research has also discovered family recreation to be a protection against teen delinquency. Productive teens who have hobbies, do their homework, are involved in athletics or other activities are happier and experience more pleasure than teens who hang out in the mall. Bored kids are more likely to turn towards delinquency, so family activities protect against boredom and thus delinquency. Family activities help children develop a better self-esteem and more easily decide on a career.

Family recreation can benefit our families in so many ways.

Take the time to play as a family and watch the bonds within the family strengthen and your children become better prepared to flourish in the world.

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Benefits of Extended Family


The extended family can be a blessing for a family. The extended family consists of grandparents, aunts, uncles and cousins.

The best memories I have growing up consist of my grandparents watching me. In the days when I would sleep over, I would get scared and end up sleeping on the floor of my grandparents room. Even after growing up and my parents divorced, my grandparents were willing to have me and my siblings live with them. Although these were hard times, many blessings came from having extended family. I grew up spending time in the backyard of my grandparents picking raspberries, playing in the sandbox, building spaceships with my cousins out of plastic chairs, and camping in a tent in the backyard with my cousins making silly recordings on my mp3.

Spending time with people who love them in addition to their parents is empowering and uplifting for kids.

There are so many reasons why extended family is important:

  1. Extra support when in crisis
  2. Makes lasting memories
  3. When divorce or separation happens children have extra family members for love and
  4. Family Law Nova Scotia says, “Members of the extended family can provide stability and continuity in the children’s lives.”
  5. “According to the article “Grandparents and the Extended Family” at, the exposure to different interests and ideas can teach children important lessons that parents may not be able to teach their children”
  6. Grandparents have an extra meaning and purpose in their life when they have grandchildren.
  7. You can learn life stories and lessons from extended family members.
  8. If you live far away from extended family Skype or other form of video chat is great. Some people blog daily just for their family.
  9. Helps understand health problems. Looking at family health history helps determine whether some things are genetic and if the child is more prone to get diabetes, cancer or anything else that affects health.

When kids can go with members of their extended family and be loved and cherished, and then come home to more people who love them, they are more connected to the love and goodness in humanity and better able to live positive and productive lives. 

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