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Levies, Barriers, and Protections

We went to this amazing beach. It is called Puerto Aventuras, located 50 miles or so south of Cancun. You’ve heard of Cancun. This other beach was started by a developer in the ‘80s who saw the success of Cancun. Apparently, this man quickly started selling land, units, condos, and building up the area to be another vacation destination. Though it went well in a lot of ways, there were some difficulties with the actual beach area. Through a series of hurricanes and other natural processes, the nice sandy beach was washed away. After the sand was flushed out to sea, lots of sharp rock and coral remained. The nice beach was gone. Though weather can’t be predicted or controlled, the developer took measures to build up sea breaks. Using rocks and cement structures, the impact of the incoming surf was impeded. Then, sand was pumped in from the ocean to bring the lush beaches back to the area.

These levies, barriers and protections need maintenance and care. When we were there, two workers were slowly building up a sea wall, rock by rock. They used a wheelbarrow to bring the material to the ocean. It was hard and tedious work. Progress was slow, almost imperceptible. But their job helped to keep the beach intact and provide a fun, safe, sandy place for our family to play. It lessened the bigger waves, kept in the sand, and limited the presence of sharp rocks. My family was thankful for the vision, years of work, and intentionality to provide us a place to enjoy God’s creation.

During the days we played there, I couldn’t help but think of ways I am supposed to care for my family in a similar way. Like the developer, I need to build structures that provide my daughters a place where they can grow in healthy ways. It is important to shield them from dangerous places or hurricane-like waves in today’s world. So, what kind of environment should be constructed in light of the inclement conditions in our culture? As I pondered that question for me and other like-minded dads out there, I made a list of some of the building materials needed to create an environment for my girls to grow, question, learn, discover, dream, and draw closer to the Lord:

  • Bedtime: reading, snuggling, praying, asking questions
  • Mealtime: done together, processing the day’s activities
  • Downtime: Fun activities, vacations or outings planned with intentionality
Foster friendships with like-minded, encouraging families
  • Life lessons: discuss disappointment, jealousy, fear, greed, selfishness
Gospel lessons: grace, forgiveness, undeserved love and how Jesus changes us and points us in a new direction
  • Service: Look for ways as a family to sacrificially give our time, talents and money
  • Boundaries: set expectations for devices, screens, friends, schoolwork, food/snacks
  • Education: What does this look like for them? What is the goal? What might I need to supplement from the education we chose for our children? What do we want to teach them in our home? How are you going to teach those things?

Some of this we already do, but as the days turn into years, I am realizing that it is imperative to continue to build these values into our life. As far as it relates to building healthy family rhythms, what would you add to this list? What was something beneficial your parents did for you when you were a kid?

As our family begins to think about entering back into Kansas life in three short months, we recognize the opportunity to create new rhythms, a reset, if you will. But, we also recognize we don’t need a big life change to make new patterns or set a goal. Those things can begin at any arbitrary point of life. We don’t need to wait for anyone or a special time or season. For me, I’m thinking of some of the intentional family rhythms mentioned above. But what about you? What are you thinking about? Any structures you need to build into your life? I’m thankful for the time and space to reflect and rest in such a beautiful place after a particularly busy season. I hope you can carve out time to escape, rest and reflect as well for whatever might lie ahead for you.