Extended Family Holiday

(Originally written, August, 1995)

The card game had taken us well into the evening and caused me to wake up late the next day. The hot summer sun was already beating down on me, and the humidity was heavy as I jogged down the road. To my right was the lake, which was peaceful and calm on this early morning. When I crossed the country highway to get the newspaper, the traffic was brisk at the small store on the other side. As I worked my way back to the lake house, I thought of twenty-five years prior. My parents had stopped by to see a friend and had ended up purchasing a lot so that their grandchildren could play on the beach. Their grandchild of that year was now just one of thirteen and would this day sit by the lake with his expectant wife. Yes, it was another of the traditional holiday weekends where the extended Humphreys family gathered for three days of “togetherness”.

The visual activities would include boating, golfing, ping pong, pool, walking, card games, or reading. But the real action was a niece with her aunt, a grandson with his grandparent, two or three cousins at play, and a father and son talking quietly. Every family needs a place to interact, have fun, model for the next generation, and explore life. Conversations over fixing a meal might include romance, politics, business, or education. Religion, health, entertainment, houses, cars, and even money will get their time in the discussion over dinner or during games. Every family needs a cabin, a spot in the mountains, a park campsite, a beach, a secluded stream, a farm, or a visit to Grandma’s. It does not require ownership – but commitment, not a lot of money – but time, not much space – but sensitivity, not great distances – but seclusion. We all need to get away as a family or as an extended family.

The years go by so quickly and everything seems to be changing so fast. Every family needs traditions which allow stability in an unbalanced world. When things are moving too easily and maybe going too well, we need a group which knows us and will share our joys, but bring us down to earth. And when life has dealt us the bad hands and there seems to be no answers, the family can put their arms around us and remind us of better times. Their love, tenderness, and support give us hope to go and try again. The stories, the laughs, the tears, and the family voices give us a stable foundation to help us through the troubled times. Every family needs something that will endure, a few traditions that are passed on to the next generation, and the principles upon which they are based.

Your family’s brief time together may be loud, crowded, filled with imperfect people, uneasy, too busy, (or too laid back), exhausting, (or boring), and fattening. However, you need the break, the balance, the opportunity of affecting and being affected by a different generation, and the chance of building another memory. I don’t do as much as I did during those weekends fifteen or twenty years ago, and I’m slower, and maybe a little wiser. But, I know that values, principles, and lessons of life are caught, not taught. These are primarily learned through the family. Take a walk, listen to a trouble family member, and celebrate the small victories of each young life! Today our society is “breaking apart” because our families and extended families have not “gotten apart”. The Psalms encourages us – “He rescues the poor who are godly and gives them many children and much prosperity.” (1)

Sitting with my Nephew,

Kent Humphreys

(1)     Psalm 107:41 (TLB)


About kenthumphreys
Kent Humphreys has been a business leader for over forty years. He also served as CEO of FCCI/Christ@Work for six years and now serves as their worldwide ambassador, speaking, writing, and mentoring young leaders. He continues to be active in distribution, private equities, and real estate. Kent and his wife Davidene have written six books together. They have three children and eight grand-children.

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