Rhythms and Routines

Do you ever have that nagging feeling that you’re forgetting something and just can’t put your finger on it? Sometimes I’ve spent an entire morning feeling like a ping pong ball – bouncing here and there, but getting no where! Grrr….that can be so frustrating!

I think that building in some predictability to my days is essential, moreover, it’s an anchor that keeps my days consistent regardless of the ocean of chaos I’m currently bobbing in. I’m convinced that some carefully crafted rhythms in a home help everyone in the family to enjoy the comforts of home and also helps us keep up with our work so that things do not go completely haywire. Being rooted in our rhythms comes over time, and promises a sense of fulfillment in the confidence that we’re not just reacting all the day. Life can move beyond survival-mode to accomplishment-mode, and we can enjoy home and the people in it.

CALM

Consistency translates into a more calm and contented environment essential to growing and nurturing together as a family. Especially when we have little ones, rhythms and routines give a strong foundation for growth, and all the members of the family have something to lean into. The simple rhythm of morning and bedtime routines are the most natural anchors for us all. Meal times can also serve a constant comfort that helps ground the day.

NOT BORING

Creating a rhythm or flow to our day doesn’t mean dedicating long hours to creativity and crafting, but it also doesn’t mean boring! It doesn’t mean days will be monotonous with no fun or time to explore. Routines welcome heaps of wonder and play, a positive management of the natural stream of work which naturally never ceases. Embracing a routine gives us freedom to enjoy the moments’ activities.

LIBERATING

Helping children understand and remember what to expect in their day means that they will be more willing and ready to help move on to each next thing. When they are included in the routines, children feel proud to help often being independent to do more on their own (before meals, clean-up, bedtimes, etc). For example, if the children know that they take a bath, slip into clean jammies, brush teeth, and have family prayer before bed every night, they’ll move along this rhythm taking some initiative.

NOT PERFECTION

Crafting rhythms certainly doesn’t mean striving for perfection. Picture yourself as an artist cultivating beauty, love, and comfort. Listen to your natural rhythms and your personal preferences. Every home will be different. You’ll be much happier with your routine if the rhythm gives you pleasure and the order comes from your own personality.

Rhythms and routines bring calmness and confidence of knowing that we’re prepared. Where to start? Write out when you want wake-up, meal, and bed times to be. Then add in the times when you have commitments (preschool, swim lessons). Now you have a relaxed and manageable routine that will help with the flow of your day. Next week, I will share our morning routine!

She dresses herself with strength
and makes her arms strong.

She perceives that her merchandise is profitable.

Her lamp does not go out at night.

Proverbs 31:17,18

with love. Damaris

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Future Men

If you have or have had the blessing of raising boys, I hope you’ve enjoyed the boyishness of them! When our boys were little, nurturing them seemed natural, but as they’re getting taller than me and far stronger, I find myself praying for wisdom! I’ve sought out much wisdom in raising boys because my childhood memories offer no sage guidance. I wasn’t raised in a rambunctious house or amongst the shepherding of little men. Yet, God has given me to these sons and these sons to me, and I seek to find blessing in this relationship for each of us.

But boys are different, and God intends for them to serve and glorify Him differently than girls. Accordingly, Nathan and I aim to see and raise our boys as future men. Hopefully this doesn’t strike you as chauvinist or gruff. Masculinity is not tough to the extent of rude. It isn’t lacking in respectful communication. Not gross or uncourteous. Teaching boys coarseness or callousness to the point of harm is as destructive as not teaching them the purposes of manhood at all.

We teach our children the same general principles and responsibilities especially while they’re little. Both boys and girls learn to obey, share, help. Of course they are taught to make their beds, empty trash bins, wash dishes (we don’t have a dishwasher), dust, sweep, and vacuum. At the same time, Nathan and I know that there is distinction in God’s design for boys and girls, so we also strive to reflect those distinctions in how we train them.

Boys intuitively know honor, and they can thrive under authority that doesn’t drive them to resentment. Cutting remarks will not foster this strength. There is one thing in particular that we teach our boys that we don’t teach our girls. It goes back to the original garden – we teach our boys to protect others, especially those who should be able to rely on their protection. They begin with their sisters.

This is a distinct responsibility and even young boys can be trained to rise to it. The manifestations of it as they grow is that boys will open and hold doors for others, walk on the sidewalk between a girl and traffic, carry bags for mom w/o her asking, push the grocery store cart, when its overloaded, shield those who are weaker from verbal or physical abuse – essentially what I Peter 3:7 says: treating women as honored creations of great value, and John 15:14 says: giving of themselves for the aid of others.

During our trip to the Rocky Mountains of Colorado, we hiked some steep trails that required really good shoes and expert skill (of which I have neither!). Not only that, but for most of our excursions, I had Baby Samuel (10 months old) strapped to my chest in his baby carrier! One late afternoon hike took us trekking down an old ski run. About halfway – and a dozen switchbacks – down the run, I felt my feet begin to slip on some granite shards. Suddenly the harness of Samuel’s baby carrier was jerked from behind and held taught. Alexander had noticed me slipping. He reached out and held the back-strap of the baby carrier the rest of the way down the slope. I was quietly proud in that moment – experiencing the fruit of some of the lessons we had been teaching and witnessing one of the boys protect without request.

God allows these little affirmations throughout our trials of faithfulness. Nathan and I wish you the same quiet joys of his grace in your endeavors, too!

Nathan & Damaris