C.K. Chesterton says, “Because children have abounding vitality, and because they are in spirit fierce and free, therefore they want things repeated and unchanged.” This speaks to routine and consistency. Children thrive on both. Routine builds security into a child’s world, and consistency builds trust with the one who implements it. Parents, you are building trust with your child until ultimately you lead them to trust their perfect heavenly Father through belief in His Son. Until such time, they are looking to you (knowingly or unknowingly) to provide for them a haven of unconditional love and acceptance, training and instruction, and tender loving care as you model your faith. Why? So that your children might see and experience the power of the Gospel lived through YOUR life as you walk by faith in daily dependence on God; trusting in Jesus, not only for your one-time salvation, but for the Holy Spirit’s moment-by-moment empowering.
Chesterton continues: “Children always say, ‘Do it again’; and the grown-up person does it again until he is nearly dead. For grown-up people are not strong enough to exult in monotony. But perhaps God is strong enough to exult in monotony. It is possible that God says every morning, ‘Do it again’ to the sun; and every evening, ‘Do it again’ to the moon.” I love that phrase – exult in monotony! I am delighted our Father in Heaven does not grow weary in daily commanding the sun and the moon! I must say, I have never thought of it that way! If you are like me, you have read and reread your children’s favorites over and over, while similarly, have pushed the swing no less than 75 times! Yes, we can become exasperated in sameness; however, may I challenge us to rethink our position. This repetition brings great security to children and provides a bond of trust, not unlike how we trust our heavenly Father to order the sun rising in the East every morning and its setting in the West every evening. Instead of always wanting to offer new stories to challenge their little minds, be mindful of what the familiarity of stories provides for your children: security inherent in routine and repetition. Now, my grandchildren delight in their favorites!
So as we think about how children benefit from the familiar and enjoy their favorite stories, it is time to think about getting into a routine for back-to-schools days. First of all, be intentional about your daily routine by spending time mapping it out. Talk to your children about the morning routine and what is expected in order for family life to flow nicely (most days)! “The more we work together, the happier we’ll be!” Tell them, “This is how we work together as a family.” Repeat other fun sayings like, “A place for everything and everything in its place.” Children respond well to the familiar and soon will respond by finishing your sentence! Establishing routines take time, patience, and diligent practice – line upon line, precept upon precept. Expect set-backs, but do not give up!
As you pick-up from carpool and arrive back home, create a lunch time followed by a “quiet world”. What does that include? A “quiet world” is one that offers down-time: it includes time in the child’s room – resting and/or napping, and engaging quietly with story books or a favorite Bible picture book. This is for you, too! Resist the urge to get caught-up on housework, e-mails, or texts. Lie down and read God’s Word, a favorite devotional, or pray, even if only for 10 minutes. This is an excellent way to model your priorities before your child! More is caught than taught.
So as we learn to exult in the monotony, may we learn to rejoice greatly and jubilantly even in the daily routine of motherhood, depending on Jesus Who gives strength for the task and wisdom for the asking. Precious parents, is there anything more important than shaping an eternal being?!