Creating Your Own Family Night

Now this episode, I’m really excited about, because I think me and Jeremy both have big nerds inside of us in regards to fantasy or novels or whatever it is. This is a really, really, really great tip to build family culture, to build a family team. That is create your own unique family nights. So Jeremy, talk about how you guys do this and what that is when you do do it.

Yeah, so it’s so cool, you guys, that when God’s given us families, and I think one of the things that we can do is make them really, really unique. I think that one of the things that you can dive into to figure out what could be super-fun and unique that when your kids are older and telling stories of their grandchildren, what they’re going to talk about is probably more than anything whatever was really interesting and different about your family team.

One way to really solidify some kind of unique element of your family is to pick a night of the week, and this could be a night of the month, but we like to do it once a week, and dive into some really fun epic story or some kind of interesting theme. Some people like to make music, some people like to make art, some people like to do other different creative things or sports or whatever.

I know in our family, one of our favorite theme nights, it’s kind of totally geeky and very unique to us is our Tolkien night. We have a night where I like to read Lord of the Rings or some version of Tolkien or some myth that he wrote in the Silmarillion or some other crazy thing to the kids. We talk about it, we have music around it. It’s kind of a part of the-

You got to tell them your bumper sticker real quick. You got to tell them your bumper sticker.

Yeah. I have a bumper sticker that says, “I’d rather be reading the Silmarillion.” That’s the actual kind of Old Testament of what Tolkien wrote. The crazy story about that, Jeff, I don’t think you know this, but that bumper sticker came from a friend of mine said, “Oh my gosh, look what I found.” He had a picture on Facebook of that bumper sticker, and so I went out and bought it not knowing that he created that bumper sticker on CafePress just to get me to buy it so that he could get the 43 cents. Yeah, it was nuts. He was like, “I knew you’d fall for that, Jeremy.”

Okay, that’s amazing.

… total sucker for anything really geeky Tolkien. But I have great stories about how people have literally stalked me because of that bumper sticker. So it’s worth it. That’s our theme night, and we got lots of details I could share around it. We have a cool song that goes with it, a bunch of books that we display and that we get to get into together. But I think it’s really fun just to have really unique things that your kids can look back on and enjoy.

But Jeff, do you guys have something in your family you’re going to geek out around?

We do, we do. There’s a couple of different things. I know you guys are football people too, so I want to kind of segue there with one of our nights too, or one of the things we do. Our kids are a lot younger, so it’s not like a full-blown night of the week yet. But I definitely think we’re big Narnia fans almost exactly the way you’re Tolkien fans. To us, I know for sure one of the plans when they’re just a little older will be a Narnia night, meaning yeah, we will … There’s seven books in the series, and it’s very easy and a great, great book for conversation starter, imagination, and the gospel, etc. But yeah, we might just make Tuesday night like read Narnia night every week in the Bethke house.

But for now, there’s kind of two things that stand out to me of ways we kind of do this, because guys, fathers out there, or even if it’s a mom listening right now, is don’t be afraid to let what you like impact the culture of your family. I actually think that’s actually really the fun parts about unifying a family is you get to do that. When a mom and a dad are both doing that, it’s really, really cool.

Yeah, absolutely.

So for us, I would say the two things that we do is just I freak out about Back to the Future. I quote the lines. I memorize the lines.

I love the movie, I’ve seen it hundreds of times. Me and Alyssa watch it on date nights. So that’s one right there where it’s not fully in the sense of we’re watching it every week yet as a family. But it certainly will be later probably.

That’s coming. Then on top of that, I think, yeah, just whether it’s quoting the lines, or for now I’ve noticed it impact our culture of our kids know Marty and Doc. They’re four and two by the way. They know Marty and Doc by first name basis. They refer to them, they’re all over the house with posters and Lego figurines and little memorabilia I have, etc. So that’s a big one that we let impact our family. I have the book, so I have the movie in book form for kids, and our kids love it. They talked about the DeLorean, they talk about time travel. It’s incredible. So that’s that one.

Then the next one is basketball. It’s funny. I played basketball growing up, but I was a baseball guy a lot longer. But baseball is kind of boring to watch. I’ll totally admit that. We watch basketball sometimes as a family with games, and we love the Warriors, because they’re fun to watch. So yeah, I rally the kids around. I mean, we only get like two games a year, but when it happens, it’s really fun. We watch the game together.

I want to hear you talk about this. There’s kind of two ways where you can kind of bring sports into families. It’s either like, “Oh, that’s dad’s thing,” and he’s actually removing himself from us to go watch sports. Or it’s like, “Oh, let’s do this. Let’s watch this as a family.” Make it an event. We like to look at it like that.


Like dad likes the Warriors, so we’re all going to watch the Warriors, and we’re going to make popcorn. It’s a special treat. I want the kids to feel like it’s a really fun thing. Then we mimic it later in the backyard, etc. But how would you end that with how you guys do sports too? I know you’re a football family a little bit.

Yeah, yeah. We love watching football. We’re big Seahawks fans. The Bethkes, we grew up in that area as well, so we’re always cheering them on. And the Bengals, we love to cheer them on. If they could win a little bit more, that’d be great.

But yeah, I agree with what you said. I think when the thing is real important for a dad to do when you’re trying to draw your kids in is pay close attention to whichever child is the least drawn in, instead of the ones that are the most drawn in. So you don’t want to cause that one to be like a little more resentful. So go over and really sort of connect with the kids that might not be as excited. Sometimes you’re watching sports, some of the kids just get it. Other kids are like, “I have no idea what’s going on. I don’t care what’s going on, because I don’t know what’s going on.” Sit down and just talk to that child and really engage with them and talk to them about what’s happening. When they’re into it, when they know that you’re into it, that really triggers something in them.

So I would say theme nights are awesome. Make sure that all the kids are having fun, particularly the ones that are feeling the most left out, and you will have something that your children as siblings will share for the rest of their lives. They’ll roll their eyes when they talk about dad’s crazy obsession with this or that. And of course, you’ll infect them for the rest of their lives with that passion as well, which is awesome. So go and affect your children. That’s the message for today.

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