This is the fifth in a series of posts that explain the details and the how and why we do Friday Nights. You can read the backstory here, part 1, part 2, part 3, and part 4 here.
In an unexpected twist, our kids have become some of the biggest supporters of Friday Nights and have brought the most new people. Initially, they liked the idea, but quickly got tired of the work to clean up after and the fact we had it EVERY Friday. But once they figured out they could invite their own friends, everything changed!
The teenagers in our house frequently invite their classmates from school. When they come, those teens frequently bring their parents. Often, the first time we meet the parents is when they show up on our doorstep on Friday night! It’s so cool. This has really become a fantastic way to get to know other families outside of our own regular sphere of community.
So what do they do on Fridays?
All the teens tend to stick together, chat, laugh, play card games and generally stay away from the little kids and the adults. What a surprise! They get their food and then typically eat outside where they can be loud and boisterous without any care. If they’re lucky…they could get a quick guitar lesson from Jeff.
The “tweens” like to play Minecraft in the school room where we have a few computers set up. A few of the regulars will bring their own laptop from home and join in the fun. As a rather non-violent and clean game, we don’t have to worry what the kids are doing on the computers much. They also play chess in the same room…or just hang out and talk. Some like to jump on the trampoline or just run around the backyard.
The little kids play with our manyLego sets, the toy kitchen set, jump on the trampoline, write with sidewalk chalk in the backyard, get on the tree swing, or play games in the garage.
Sometimes…if the planets are aligned just right, Ashton will let the kids paint his face.
They also frequently ask to pet the bunnies…Magic and Cheesy-Sprinkles!
We try not to turn on the TV much…although the kids ask every week. However, if they are just having a difficult time (as all kids do at times), then we’ll sometimes put on Tom & Jerry cartoons to help calm the little ones down. When the wall ends up with a hole…it’s time to turn on the TV…
Parenting All These Kids
Our community always involves kids. And sometimes those kids interrupt you when you’re talking. Which leads me to my next wonderful point…child-rearing is a frequent topic around the adult table. One of the things that is really great for parents on Friday’s is that we have such a huge range of parenting philosophies and experiences. Some parents have grown children and others have newborns. And most of us have kids in between. Many of us have special needs children. But all of us have questions on how to do this thing called…parenting.
Parenting is hard…sometimes VERY hard. We all struggle at times with how to raise a kid in our current society. Friday Nights has proven to be a fantastic resource for parents looking to ask questions of others and get ideas on how to handle certain issues with their children. None of us are experts…but we all come from different backgrounds and different experiences. Some of the parents have great success stories for difficult situations. Some have even more spectacular failures that are hilarious and might help you steer clear of certain disaster. Either way, they might just be what you need to hear.
You’ve heard the old saying, “It takes a village to raise a kid.” We tend to disagree.
Rather, we believe, “It takes a Friday community to raise a kid.”