Barrington H. Brennen
Have you every heard about the PEPSI
Foundation? No, this is not a drink nor a game. This is an acronym about the
building blocks in the foundation of a healthy, vibrant, Christian family
life--P.E.P.S.I. I created this acronym about five years
ago to better explain what is needed to help make families get well and keep
well. Read carefully and apply to your life.
P - PRAYER. The family that prays together
stays together. This is a very popular phrase but often used as
the only one needed to build a health family life. Prayer is the first and
most important building block in a healthy family but it is not the only
one. However, if families can learn to pray together, things can truly be
different. Isaiah 56:7 is a most appropriate text for families: "My house
shall be called a house of prayer . . ." Hereís what parents should do to
make their home a "house of prayer." Set a regular time for devotion each
day. Preferably the first thing in the morning. Keep the worship times short
and sweet. Involve the children. Avoid these roadblock to a healthy prayer
life: Too much television viewing, satanic music, destructive friends,
overwork, and selfishness. Prayer represents the spiritual foundation of the
It is important to be reminded that prayer isn't
all we need to have a healthy family. If we literally "pray without
ceasing" we will die of starvation. We must get off our knees and
work, live, and love. This is why many years ago I realized we needed
to teach more of the basic ingredients, along with prayer, that is needed to
build and maintain healthy families. Thus the development of the
E - EAT. The family that eats together grows
and stays together. It is evident that if you keep on praying and do not
stop to eat you will die. Therefore it is logical to say that although
prayer is the first and most important building block for a healthy family
life, it is not the only one. You have to work the prayer. Eating together
is one of the most intimate activities families and couples can do together.
It does not matter if you eat around the table, under a tree, or in front of
the television. All that matters is that you
are eating together and thus providing time for exchange of ideas, open
dialogue and honest family conversation. Here are a few principles to
remember. Set a time to eat together as a family at least three times each
week. If a family can do it
every day, more power to them. Eat in the same area together. Adults should
make their conversation child-friendly. Do not ask the children to "shut up" when
they chime in to your conversation, especially when you asked them to eat
with you. The family that never or seldom eats together would find it
difficult to become intimate intellectually or emotionally during other
P - PLAY The family that plays together heals,
grows, and stays together. Parents are to take the time not only to pray
but to play with their children. Parents, if you cannot play with your
children then you are most likely too rigid, cold, or distant and would find
it difficult to reach your children when it is emotionally tense or during
difficult times. Take the time to laugh together. Take the time to have fun
together. "Chill out" together. Go places together. Remember, parents, you
were once a child.
S - SLEEP The family that sleeps together
understands, heals, grows, and stays together. Sleep is an
extremely important building block in healthy families. It is not families
sleeping in the same bad. It is sleeping in the same home always. Not night
outs and sleep overs. It means everyone sleeping in the same house and not
in grandmaís house. It means husband and wife sleeping in the same bed. It
means parents are not going to sleep while their dependant children watch
television. It means having a healthy time to go to bed. It means getting
enough sleep each night. When families always go to bed too late, thus not
getting enough rest, the chance of being cranky, irritable, and physically
ill increases. Families that sleep in the same house and get lots of sleep
I - INTENDS The family that intends together
matures, understands, heals, grows, and stays together. I had to
find an appropriate word for "I" and came us with "Intends." It means that
there must be a deliberate, intentional effort to pray, eat, sleep, and play
together and to keep Christ as the center of the home. Applying the PEPSI
Foundation calls for energy. A healthy family is not a gift but an
achievement. Joshua 24:15 expounds ". . . but as for me and my house we will
serve the Lord"
Go ahead and print this article and place it on a favorite wall in the
house to remind you of these principle each days. It is certainly true to
say that we need more P.E.P.S.I. in our homes. It is not Pepsi we need.
Thatís only superficial. We need something more intense, deeper, and
meaningful to make our families vibrant and healthy. We need the P.E.P.S.I.
QUIZ: If you answer "Yes" to the following questions then you are on the road
to having a happy family life:
- "Does each family member look forward to
coming home at the end of school or at the end of the work day?"
- "Do you
have a set time to commune with God as a family?"
- "Do you have a set time to play and eat together?"
- "Does everyone go to bed the same time at least three nights a
- "Do you hug each other everyday?"
- "Do you compliment each other every day?"
Stupid Things Parents Do to Mess Up Their Children's Lives."
T O G E T H E R
Send your comments or
questions to Barrington H. Brennen, P.O. Box CB-13019, Nassau,
The Bahamas; or call 1-242 327 1980 or email
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