Yes, yes I am the one that is forever using this quote: "The family that prays together stays together." It's on all the newsletters I write for teens in our parish and even in our church bulletin at times. But I also like this quote, "The family that plays together stays together," because these days it's rare to see a family all sitting down together for the evening meal much less playing in the backyard together. But I'm here to tell you that is what your family needs: to play together as well as pray.
As my husband and I were raising our three kids it was important for us to also play with them. This meant we built one of those wood playhouses in our backyard when our oldest son was only five years. old. We were out there with him and his two little sisters, the youngest only a newborn playing on the slide, the swings and teeter totter. Then it was on to putting the oldest two in the "Little Red Wagon" and pulling them around the yard while I followed with the baby. We made play time important with our children. We taught them to ride bikes and when everyone could ride fairly well, we all rode bikes on our town's bike trail. We went to the city park and played on the 'big' swings, me holding the baby on my lap and my husband pushing the other older two on the swings. In the summers we bought a wading pool and I spent many summer afternoons home with my kids playing in that pool.
As the kids got older we went for hikes and older still we went to the beach and walked miles and miles of beach playing in the water, sand and collecting shells. We also made sure they knew how to swim well taking swimming lessons and we drove to the river where I spent many teen years floating on inner tubes on a hot relaxing summer day down the Current River and exploring the hiking trails behind the springs.
My point to all this is my husband and I made it an important part of raising our kids playing with them. We didn't do organized sports, except for martial arts which we did together as a family. Playing was almost as important to our family as praying. And to this day when we all get together we share our memories of playing together. Now as they begin their own families we joke about all the board games we have downstairs and how we'll be outfitted as grandparents for games! And my husband and I are still game to go floating down a river or two with the kids and their kids. It's important your children see you playing with them. It's the time you spend together that is important and makes your children well rounded.
While it may take a few more aspirins to keep us going these days, my husband and I are always up to playing a pick up game of football in the backyard or horseshoes. It doesn't matter what the game is, what matters is we have fun playing together!