Is this an anti-sports
No. In fact, a number of coaches and youth sports leaders
are enthusiastic supporters of Family Life 1st. We believe that sports
and other community activities can be important positive experiences
for children, youth, and families. But we believe that current preoccupation
with competition has diminished the rewards of sports at the same
time as diminishing the quality of family life for many families.
Is this a political
or religious movement about "family values"?
Family Life 1st is decidedly nonpartisan and non-sectarian. We want
to support families of all kinds and of all beliefs to prioritize
family time and family activities.
What would families
do with family time if they took it back?
Family Life 1st is not focused mainly on the number of
hours that families spend together. We envision families making conscious
choices to turn their dinners into rituals of connection, to play
games and recreate together, to worship together if they are religious,
and to engage in citizenship activities that build and serve their
communities. Families have much to teach one another about the creative
use of time, including ways to set limits on television, the Internet,
and other electronic media that have the potential to dominate family
life in the home if we let them.
What about families
who feel okay about their current priorities?
Not every family will want or need the Family Life 1st movement. We
are not telling any particular family to change its balance between
inside and outside activities. Family Life 1st is intended for two
kinds of families: those who want to re-prioritize family life, and
those who want support to maintain their current priority on family
What can I do in my
Family Life 1st was founded in Wayzata, Minnesota with the idea of
spreading the movement to other communities. If you would like guidance
about launching the movement in your community, click on
HOW TO START A FAMILY LIFE 1ST MOVEMENT IN YOUR COMMUNITY.
Letter from parent and
response by Bill Doherty for Family Life 1st
Question: "Between my two children (ages 8 and 10), we seem
to be on the go every day of the week. I'd like to slow down the pace
a little, but am afraid if I pull my kids out of their activities,
they will lose out in the long run. How can I take time to be a family
and still make sure my children will have opportunities to participate
and compete when they are older?"
Response: You are not alone in your concern. Many parents
now are trying to figure out a way to cut back without feeling as
if they are depriving their children of important opportunities. My
main suggestion is to focus on first things first. Decades of research
show that strong family bonds are the most important ingredient in
successful childhood, and we know that a good deal of family time
is necessary for these close family bonds. No amount of other activities
can substitute for missed family dinners, bedtime talks, weekend outings,
family vacations, and just time to hang out together. These are the
most important "opportunities" we provide for our children. (Isn't
it strange that the term "opportunity" has come to mean something
that our children do away from their family?) In addition, children
need meaningful involvement in school and community activities, within
reasonable time demands. I can't tell you how you should change your
own family schedule; that's for you to decide based on your family's
needs and values. But I hope you will keep first things first in your
priorities -- and that means family life first. There will be a number
of opportunities in this community this year to connect with other
families working on the same challenges. I encourage you to become
part of our local Family Life 1st movement. William