November 1, 2013 by greenhouse04
Imagine this: two children and two adults sitting at the dinner table. One adult counts to three, then they all cock their heads to the side and shout “Jeep!” in unison. They repeat for several minutes: “1…2…3… JEEP!”
This was the scene in my house a few days ago. The kids were grinning and giggling, while Mr. and I eyed one another with a silent “this is ridiculous!” But I felt something beyond ridiculous that made it easy to keep repeating this silly game: I felt invisible bonds forming between us as together we shouted “JEEP!” yet again.
That might sound ridiculous to some – how on earth does playing a silly game with your kids create bonds between you? However, it’s an undisputable fact that it happens. Somehow, doing things together, sharing something in unison, creates invisible bonds between you.
I haven’t studied this scientifically, but I believe that it starts with the senses. First, your bodies sync – whether through playing Pat-a-Cake, cuddling and rocking, or cocking your head and saying “Jeep.” Next, your minds sync – your neural pathways are firing the same way, and your goals and interests are meshing. Finally, your hearts sync. You are in tune emotionally. A bond is formed.
There are lots of ways we bond with others in our family: mothers and babies bond before birth as they move together, feel one another’s heartbeats, and share nutrients. After birth the experience of smelling, hearing, and touching one another continues the bond. Parents can continue these bonding experiences appropriately as children grow. Husbands and wives share the ultimate bonding experience – sex.
We even bond with non-family in public places! I think sports events and musical concerts are so popular partly because the shared actions and emotions create bonds. As you watch your favorite football team in the stadium with thousands of other fans you all shout, jump, and groan together; and while the fans are bonding, the team players are bonding even more! This also happens in the mosh pit at rock concerts as the music produces similar emotions and actions in both the performers and concert-goers.
A huge way to create bonds is to dance with others! Falling in love with one’s dance partner is more common than people like to admit, I think. Large community dances (like square dancing) are great ways to bond groups of people together. Dancing with your spouse or kids, or as a family, are also great ways to bond.
Here’s another great way to bond groups of people: make music together. Sing in a choir, play in an orchestra, play in a band, or… sing at church!
Just the other Sunday I was singing an old hymn at church. Suddenly, I was out of myself. I was no longer just singing the familiar words, but I was listening to everyone else singing around me, looking at their faces, imagining the thoughts and emotions the song provoked in each person and how it provoked the same in me. I felt a bond with the 75 other people in our church sanctuary as we sang about our God together. I also felt a bond with all the people who had sung this song for decades before me, who sing it around the world today. Wow! What a wonderful unifying experience!
And someday all those same people (and more) will be enjoying the best bonding experience of all time – worshipping together before the Lamb’s throne!!
But until then, I plan on enjoying all the bonding I can get with those around me: with my family in Christ and with my family at home.
My family at home sang together the other night. We sang “The Bear Went Over the Mountain” as we read the great kid’s book by Iza Trapani. Yet again I felt those invisible bonds forming as I listened to all four of our voices melding together. This was a little more “normal” bonding activity than saying “JEEP” really loud, but I’m willing to try anything that binds me closer to the ones I love.