An idea came to me this morning, during Holy Hour, as I was meditating upon the second Luminous Mystery, The Wedding Feast at Cana. The second luminous mystery is the one I always offer for marriages and families, particularly my own. As I was doing so, this idea pushed up from the mental ground, as it were, like a beanstalk.
I call it “The Great Date-Night Co-Op ™” (just kidding about the trademarked. Anyone can use it if they like.
The idea is simple. A bunch of families get together and form a co-op, in which they all drop the kids off at someone’s house once a week for a few hours. Each couple takes it in turns to watch all the kids, while the others get to take an evening off. Say you have 5 or 6 families involved, every 5 or 6 weeks you watch everyone’s kids, and the rest of the time you get one free evening a week.
You can see why I was just kidding about the trademark thing. This is so basic and simple I am sure someone else has thought of it and done it.
Of course there would be logistical issues to think about.
- What do you do if some of the families don’t have the room to host a dozen kids, e.g. they live in a studio apartment?
- Perhaps parish halls might be available? YMCA gyms? Outdoors if the weather is nice. You would want to avoid a place you would have to rent, as this ought to be a low-budget idea.
- How do you establish some baseline agreement about discipline issues? e.g. what movies are allowed, not allowed, how to deal with disrespect, etc.
- This might not work so well for infants and babies. No couple wants to watch half a dozen infants at the same time.
All in all, though, I think it has a lot to recommend it and the logistics might be worth working through.
What do y’all think?