If togetherness is the goal, then working together to accomplish that goal gives you a head start
Next to him Shallum the son of Hallohesh, ruler of half the district of Jerusalem, repaired, he and his daughters. (Nehemiah 3:12)
I read Nehemiah chapter 3 and wanted to roll my eyes at the list of names. However, I have studied enough of the Old Testament to recognize their significance and not minimize their effect. As I read this list, I stopped and smiled at the words of Nehemiah 3:12. Don’t you love that the daughters of Shallum were right there beside their dad, doing their part to rebuild the wall?
The names in this chapter represent place and responsibility. Each person and each family had a section that belonged to them and for which they were responsible to repair. Men and women, parents and children, all worked on the wall. Rebuilding became a family project, mission, and goal. No one person’s part was over-emphasized as more important. Nehemiah did not bring in expert builders to extend their expert skills. Families worked together to make the repairs in the wall.
That same sense of mission can help when rebuilding your family following a deployment. A shared sense of purpose can be a stimulus for successful reintegration.1 The establishment of routines and the adjustment of roles may take time and require flexibility. However, if togetherness is the goal, then working together to accomplish that goal gives you a head start.
Age appropriate rebuilding ideas for your family abound. A simple and inexpensive game night can help normalize family relationships through laughter and interaction. If you do not have children, consider an event with extended family. Any positive activity you can do together with family, whether eating together, playing together, or working together, can have a productive outcome.
“Make repairs” in Nehemiah 3 can also be translated “make strong.” How does that change the way you view the lessons in Nehemiah concerning the process of reintegration? What are some positive activities you can plan for your family to build togetherness?
Prayer for the Journey
Father, thank you for each person in my family. Help us to work together to make our family strong. Amen.
1 Mark C. Pisano, “Military Deployment and Family Reintegration,” National Association of School Psychologists, Wounded Vet Center, University of Illinois, http://woundedvetcenter.ahs.illinois.edu/pdf/Military_Deployment_and_Family_Reintegration.pdf, (accessed March 7, 2015).