Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Strong Families Matter

That's our premise behind the Element3sixty interns dedicating their summer to put on Family Nights. Whatever a particular family structure looks like, the strength of it is what matters. I love working in an environment that is committed to building up students and their families.

Dad and me on the boat

In such a connected world socially and technologically, it's interesting to see society yearning for community relationships. A Wall Street Journal article last week discussed a new trend of taking down fences and sharing one large backyard with neighbors.

Since it's not likely to come across a village in urban or suburban America, how do you get a village to raise a child? How do you help build or contribute to a community that will support you in making and keeping your family strong?

At Element3sixty, we are hoping that our Family Nights will do just that through an experience we're calling "edu-tainment" or educational entertainment. We are bringing families together to learn about important lessons, like everyday leadership, giving back, and interacting with difficult cultures, but in a fun, interactive context.

Families grow stronger by going through experiences together and supporting one another. Remember those family road trips?

When I was in seventh grade, my family and I went on a road trip from Orlando to Toronto. Music sharing and downloading sites had just become popular, and before we left I spent an entire day downloading Dad's choice of CD for the trip. (Remember how it used to take hours just to download one CD worth of songs?) So we listened to Sting nonstop to Toronto. I don't remember all of our stops along the way, but I do remember bonding over the adventure, stopping at Gettysburg, touring Toronto, and, yes, rocking out to Sting with my family.

Cooking together is always a great family bonding experience!
Last Thanksgiving, John and I made pizza for the family with my sisters-in-law, Amy and Emma.

Similarly, communities grow stronger by living life together and sharing common experiences. It's not just living next door but seeking each other out to experience small, daily triumphs and failures together. For instance, two families who live in our neighborhood recently bought baby chicks together so they can both share the eggs.

What can you do to initiate connecting your family to another in your neighborhood? I'd love to hear your ideas in the comment section below!


  1. I think being outside is critical when it comes to meeting your neighbors - talk a walk, work in your yard, sit on your front porch - and then talk to them! I know you and John do a great job of this

    1. Thanks, Leah! And summer is perfect for all of these too!