Besides the “techno free” zones and “sitting in your house” that I described in Talk Time #11, drive time has come to be a meaningful talk time for our family. (See Tip #4: Who’s Got Their Shoes On? for more one-on-one vehicle talking tips.) In this final post of this talk series, I just want to encourage families in general to reduce the “independent” times in the vehicle and make drive time more “community” time.
We could never afford newer vehicles, complete with game systems or televisions (we don’t even have game systems or televisions in our home either, come to think of it). Thus, our drive time for many years included reading aloud, listening to audios, playing road games, and, of course, talking. (Now with computers, the kids sometimes write papers, watch movies, or play games while we drive.) As is the case with most things that families cannot afford, not being able to afford newer vehicles with electronics built in has had an immensely positive result: community time vs alone time in the vehicle.
We have had literally hundreds of hours of teaching and talking time with our kids in our van through the years. We talk one-on-one if it is just Dad and child or Mom and child, but the majority of our times in the van have been community—times to read aloud and discuss what we are reading; listen to an audio and share in stories and teachings together; and talk about family history, our beliefs, current events, church sermons, family standards, personal goals, ministry goals, relationship issues, and much more.
If your family drive times are more like “islands in the stream” than “group hugs,” we would encourage you to declare certain drive times as family times. Just announce that on Sundays, for example, no games or independent activities will be allowed but instead family time will be instituted. Buy some new audio series’ that will interest everybody. Get some “Ungame” cards out of an old “Ungame” in your closet or from Goodwill and read these allowed and discuss them. Do whatever it takes to make drive time more family time—and more talk time.
It has been a joy to share with you our Twelve Terrific Times to Talk. There are so many other opportunities that we need to take advantage of in order to get into our children’s hearts. We just encourage you to do it! Talk. Listen. Share. Teach. Our kids will not be here at home with us forever. Let’s make use of the times that we have to share with them—and see if we can increase that “fifteen minutes of meaningful time with a parent” per week statistic to hours each week instead!