If you were to evaluate our
family, listen in on our conversations and observe our schedule, the likelihood
is high you would surmise that we place a high value on rhythm. Since our kids
were born we developed a schedule and have assertively protected it through the
years. As the kids have gotten older, the rhythms of our family life have
evolved out of necessity. Nevertheless, we have always maintained a strong
cadence and pace. Everything in our family begins with the end of the day. A
consistent bedtime empowers the next day on the calendar. The morning routine
is almost exact each morning. The after school patterns are regular. This goes
all the way to when my son eats his pre-bed popcorn, and whom handles getting
the kids showered. While there are some deviations from the routines, for the
most part our Mondays through Fridays are homogeneous. For some, this may seem
monotonous, boring, unimaginative or lacking in spontaneity. For us, this
rhythm creates the framework for consistent, dependable development…physically,
emotionally and spiritually. It is this rhythm, which creates room for a
consistency in engaging our kids spiritually.
As a husband and a dad, I
can’t say I am 100% certain I am getting it right. Like most parents, my
flesh has a way of creeping to the surface and at times the fruit of the Spirit
seems to be a little rotten. However, our rhythm has allowed me to establish an
institution in our home. Nightly I lie in bed with each of my children, and I
take time speaking to who they are, declaring prophetically, praying over them
and allowing them to pray. In recent weeks I started reading through the Gospel
of Luke to them before bed (I chose Luke so we could move into Acts later). These moments are not dramatic nor are they
emotional…they are consistent. Rarely does something happen in these moments
that is social media worthy…they are special not because of extravagance but
because they are tradition. My kids expect it. They ask for it. They crave it.
All of this is done within about 15 minutes. All of it made possible by our consistency.
We aren’t rushing them to bed because we are chronically behind schedule, so I
have time to engage their hearts with Jesus.
Michelle and I believe these routine moments are invaluable in the
turning of our kids’ hearts toward the things of God. On occasion it has
required that we exclude ourselves from some fun. Rhythm demands that I say
“no” to some opportunities and people from time to time. Consistency insists
that we become mature enough to embrace some monotony. Pace necessitates that
we be disciplined enough to run our schedule and not the other way around. I’m sure there have been moments when other parents were silently critical, thinking we were uptight parents. As I recline next to my kids,
breathe in the same air and talk about Jesus…I can’t find anything that I’m
missing out on.