When I was a young girl and until I left home, I remember canning with my mom and grandmother. I remember how long and hard the process was, it seemed to take all day... all week! I remember my grandmother insisting that we follow her instructions to the detail, no steps were to be skipped. We had to pick the best and freshest fruit and vegetables, each one hand inspected. I remember the HEAT in the kitchen, I couldn't figure out why we couldn't can in the winter or when it was cooler! :) I remember the smells in the whole house, it was incredible. I remember being so tired and then still having to clean up. I remember the feeling of pride when we would line the jars upon the shelves. I remember my grandma saying "Lynn, you will never get anything from the grocery store that tastes as good as when you have canned it yourself!" I have to admit...it's true! So when I start wondering why people go to that much work to can, when they could just buy it at the store? I remind myself of the type of quality and the amount of love that goes in to each one of those jars and honestly I believe it's worth it.
Last night was Family night for us, we have done it every Monday night since the kids were born. I believe that Family Night is a lot like canning, it helps us preserve our families. Every Family Night will be a little bit different ( just like the tastes and ingredients are different) . And just like only putting in the best fruit, each of the family members need to add something good to Family Night, by participating. Family Night should be a joint effort and most of all like canning, it is rewarding to see the fruits of your labors. But our Family Nights have changed throughout the years.
Stages of canning and Family Night...
Newly wed...I just wanted to be the ultimate wife and mother, only the best for Jeff and Amy. I couldn't imagine some of those mothers out there that fed their husbands and children those store bought fruit and veggies ( how could they sleep at night?). Family night consisted of Jeff, Amy and I. The lessons were short and very simple but still Amy loved Family Night.
Mother of 4 little ones...At this time in my life I was so busy and tired that I hardly had time to open a can of food for the kids. I couldn't even think about canning, and thought I must have been crazy to ever think that I could keep that up! I also convinced myself that Grandma and Mom could have never been as busy as I was or they would have never canned. And to be honest I even tried to convince myself that the taste wasn't that much difference. Family Night was a bit chaotic to say the least. We could hardly make it through one evening without someone whining or complaining about his brother or sister was touching him or worse yet...looking at him! It was a rare Family Night if it ended without someone crying or going to Time Out!
Mother of 4 growing kids... My conscience got the best of me and I realized that I needed to start teaching my kids ( now that they are big enough) to start growing our own food and canning it. At this time we had moved far from home and I realized I had to do it by myself (except for the occasional phone call to mom or my grandma for help). It was harder and messier than I had remembered, but boy were the kids and I ever proud to line up those jars on the shelf. Family Night got a bit easier, because everyone was anxious to participate. Someone would say the prayer, another one lead the opening song, someone would help hold up visual aids for the lesson and someone else would help with the treats.
Mother of 4 pigs...This stage was the hardest, the kids were bigger and would eat anything and everything in front of them. I remember canning all week with them and by the next week or so, half of our jars were eaten already. One night Jeff came home and I was crying, when he asked what was wrong, I told him after all the work we did on canning and teaching the kids how to do it. After all the mess and time it took ...the kids just went and ATE THEM! I just knew they couldn't have tasted the goodness of it being homemade when they ate it so fast! Family night got a bit harder, kids were having homework and projects due. They complained about how everyone else that they knew, didn't have to spend one night a week together we did! Still we pushed through and used our lessons to focus on the problems we were experiencing in our home. Every now and then we got a rolling of the eyes, especially if they knew we were talking about them, in a subtle way of course.
Mother of teenagers...Now at this stage the closest thing we got to call canning... was opening a # 10 size can from Costco for dinner. I believe those cans are bigger than my grandmother herself! But that seemed to be all the time I had back then. Family night got even harder still, there were sports activities, school activities, work, homework, and of course social lives to consider. There were weeks that we weren't able to do Family Night on Mondays, so we would do it a day earlier on Sundays. Still we had to really work out our time together, but I do believe it made a difference. Everyone's schedules were so busy and full, but I was glad that we made the sacrifice of times and schedules to have our weekly Family Nights.
So as you can see our Family Nights were a lot like canning, important but we definitely went through different stages. As we sat down together last night, just Jeff, Lee and I ...I remembered that even though there are only 3 of us left, it is still vital to take the time out to be together and to teach Lee, but I have to admit...it feels a bit different and a bit lonely!
Having Family Night was challenging to say the least and there were times when we wondered if we were even making a difference in our kids lives? But like canning, there was a lot of time, effort and love involved and I believe that it was most definitely worth it! I guess Grandma was right!
"No success can compensate for failure in the home" ~ David O. McKay
"It is so plainly evident that both the great good and the terrible evil found in the world today are the sweet and bitter fruits of the rearing of yesterday's children. As we train a new generation, so will the world be in a few years. If we are worried about the future, then we must look today at the upbringing of children" ~ Gordon B. Hinckley
"The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing!" ~ Edmond Burke