STRONG FAMILIES– in organized crime, gangs, churches, cultural centers, and now in friend groups.
So, shoot someone or save someone? Does it matter? Yes.
Think about this: Harmony or harm, what do you want for your family? What ever you do, it will leech into your home.
FCF Board President, Kelly Marcus pauses for a selfie with a friend while on a church mission trip with her daughter.
It’s a win win. Friends AND family!
While on her trip, Kelly messaged me, “When are you going to be ready for a little novice drywall patching work?”
My family is about to benefit from being part of the Family Chowder Foundation (FCF.) Even just getting the message made me smile in the middle of a hectic day.
I am a single, working mother, founder of FCF, with occasionally volatile teenage boys. Patching the holes in our walls was not even on my radar.
By the way, not only are my children a big inspiration behind the founding of FCF, but they help out. When we work on FCF together, we are at our best, and we get a lot done. It is true, positive vibes are inescapable when engaged in a good cause together.
Really, who has time to be petty when you are all working together to keep the chocolate sauce from clumping in the fountain for Date Night?!
Kelly Marcus and her husband also work outside the home, have two children, just served on a mission with a group of people and their families rebuilding homes in a hurricane stricken area. And yes, they team up and put a lot of hours volunteering with FCF.
The benefit for time well spent? Making memories together, networking, and learning new skills. I can say the time together working to make a difference in the lives of other people has made my family stronger, and also less volatile, which means we laugh more and have fewer holes put in the walls.
Helping other people releases brain chemicals that can chase away the blues and increase confidence.
When you are doing it together as a family, the benefit can have a positive effect on everyone, that is lasting.
Going outside your comfort zone side by side with your family provides for unexpected teaching moments, and even levels the playing field a little, opening the door for some surprising conversation. Want to connect? Sign up for something you have never done before.
Arranging for your family to share a positive experience helping others is very different than getting involved in creating havoc and harm. While causing misery or destroying property might seem fun and memorable for a hot minute, the lasting effect can be detrimental on family relationships.
Bad turns more bad
Good turns more good
Do good together, and be great together.
Surrounded by event guests: Front and center Kelly Marcus with her daughter, our top volunteer Dale in the tux with his daughter on the far right. Not pictured – Zach and Dallas Justus who spent months behind the scenes helping design games and get the house ready for FCF fundraising event ESCAPE HOUSE: Who Murdered the Maid? Nothing brings a family closer than finding a hiding place for the body! For a good cause of course!
So what of Church? Why church?
With the right spiritual leader, you and your family can experience sublime on a practical and useful level. With lasting happiness.
“If you want to go quickly, go alone, if you want to go far, go together”.
Pastor Phil Hurlbert, from State Road Community Church of Nazarene quoted this proverb when I asked him about serving with his family. Oh, but he did not just whip out a catchy quote, this is a standard for the Hurlburt family. Everyone knows they work as a team. When help comes from the Hurlburts, 3 generations might arrive with tools in hand.
He further commented that his family is better together, that for one thing, his wife Danita, fills in where he leaves off and that they are all better together. True. They are the living example of teamwork, from music to fixing cars for parishioners and neighbors, there is no competition, but a collaboration of skill and talent.
The kids were eager to tell about their experience working together as a family. They said things like,
“we get to work together and it’s fun, because my cousin is my best friend,” and “we can sit around and laugh together with stories that start with, ‘hey, remember when…’”
Danita, Pastor Phil’s wife, pointed out that whenever they are all together, there are teachable moments and the time goes so quickly before the kids are all grown up. Every moment spent together becomes more precious and purposeful. Serving todgether, and having fun doing it, provides for more time together.
Danita’s parents, were visiting the Sunday I caught up with them for a photo. They spent many years serving as youth leaders, and continue to work together being the founding working hands of a new church. Her Dad chimed in that he knew serving would spiritually strengthen his daughters and prepare them for when life gets difficult. Danita, and here twin remain close, both working and serving in their own families. This is a family tradition that will most likely carry on through more generations.
Hurlbert-Sheffer Family. Pastor Phil Hurlbert, top-front-center, with his wife Danita on his right, her twin sister Dawn on his left, their parents Diane and Don Sheffer seated (Don is holding the keys to the kingdom!) and a mix of siblings with their cousin.
Pastor Phil, passes this advice along to all readers; when searching for any group consider this:
Go where it is the best fit for you
Go where you feel understood, safe, and loved
Are you looking for a group to join with your family?
To find a local group for your family, search out cultural/heritage clubs, community organizations, visit places of worship in your neighborhood, check out community bulletin boards at libraries for groups not found on line, and of course, ask around. Volunteer Match is a great online source to find opportunities to get engaged as a family. Read online reviews, get to know their policies/ code of ethics, and mission statement before signing up.
If you do not want to commit to anything long term, look for “projects.”
There are plenty of organizations that offer done-in-a-day volunteer opportunities for families of all ages, from cleaning up parks to meal prep and aid to seniors.
This is what a family friendly group looks like:
Has a mission that all members can be passionate about
Has a moral code appropriate for children
Has activities that provides interest and inclusion of all family members regardless of age or ability
Has members with similar family structure
Has programs that invite volunteerism
Has a family first- group second rule
Has a leave-at-will policy extended to all members
The Justus teens getting some good brain chemistry:
These boards didn’t paint themselves for EMBRACE YOUR INNER QUEEN event – Thank you son Dallas (Camera shy.) Dallas also helps plan games, food prep, and offers helpful, umlimited opinions on just about everything.