Why Kids Need Family Reunions

Connecting with your extended family can have an eternal impact.

If the idea of a family reunion conjures up visions of lukewarm potato salad and a horde of relatives you've never met, it's time to rethink what it means to connect with your extended family. After falling out of favor for several years, family reunions are once again becoming a popular way to discover ancestral roots and pass on a legacy of faith.

Concentrated time with those with whom you share a common past can inspire your whole family to think about the memories you want to leave behind. So before you dismiss the idea as just one more commitment jamming up your summer calendar, consider these four reasons to get the gang together.

1. Kids Can Connect to Something Bigger

Most of us live at least a short distance from our extended families. And while that can sometimes be a blessing, it can also create a sense of rootlessness in our lives, not to mention the lives of our children. According to Kenneth Phillips, a Christian psychiatrist in suburban Chicago, "The tendency for jobs to define the part of the country where people live subtly scissors family ties. Reunions are a means by which siblings who no longer live near each other (or their parents) can maintain regular contact and fertilize their family tree."

Steve Roskam's family is typical. He and his four siblings are scattered around the country. Steve, an Illinois physician, lives near one brother and their folks. He has one sister in Seattle and another one in rural Pennsylvania. Another brother lives in Indianapolis.

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May 25

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