A not infrequent complaint of married couples and especially of new parents is that they no longer have time for their hobbies. Most force the issue and accept the negative consequences, a selfish attitude, that just seems contrary to the whole idea of family. The solution, however, is not that a mother or father, husband or wife, is no longer allowed hobbies. Rather, one can take a positive attitude, that the hobbies of a spouse or parent can be a source of enrichment for the family. To do that, the hobbies must be integrated into the fabric of the family. With that in mind, here are 5 ways to bring hobby and family together, taken from my personal experience.
- Take ’em Fishing
- Back Yard Horiculturalists
- Finance is a Hobby???
- Relive Your Childhood
- If You Can’t Beat ’em, Join ’em
I grew up loving to fish. My wife grew up without a clear idea of which end of the fishing pole to hold. (Kidding!) When we moved to South Carolina, I badly wanted a boat. Many of the men I know at work have either bass boats or ocean-ready center consoles. Both of those are hardy, wind-in-your face kinds of boats meant for serious fishermen. Instead, I chose to purchase a bowrider with a big windshield and plenty of seating (and a much smaller price tag). So my hobby is now my family’s hobby. I never go fishing without at least some of the kids, and usually the whole crew.
When we first purchased a house, I started a vegetable garden. I always enjoyed growing things, and eating the fruit of my labor was a great feeling. But with multiple babies, the garden went fallow. That changed when my son took an interest. Now the kids all get to pick out which seeds will be planted, they learn about composting and germination, and frosts and planting zones. We do it together. It might be a ragtag garden, but it is a garden of love.
My wife is a businesswomen, through and through. She has brought the kids to her business and has set them up managing their own money. They receive an allowance. They plan for donations to the church, for a fixed amount to go to savings, and then are free to spend or save the rest. They end up saving the bulk of their (fairly small) allowances. In sharing her passion for business and finance, Mom has taught them to treat money seriously, as a grace from God, but not to worship it.
My wife enjoyed dance as a child, and so she steered our eldest daughter in that direction, where she has thrived. They are currently working together, choreographing a piece for my daughter to dance at a talent show.
My dancing daughter also has developed an interest in musical theater. After playing chauffeur for three separate shows, I decided that I might as well have something more interesting to do than sit in a lobby. So I auditioned, and she and I just finished a three-week run starring in Irving Berlin’s White Christmas at our local community theater.
The hobbies are there – fun, challenging, and intellectually and spiritually fulfilling. They don’t have to take away from family. With a little creativity, they can bring the family together.