Keeping the Spirit in Our Homes Part 1 of 6

A couple of weeks ago, I was asked to prepare a presentation for a Relief Society activity. The subject of the presentation was "How to get and keep the spirit in our homes." For those of you who are familiar with The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, you know that refers to the spirit of the Lord. Our desire is to have homes that are places where the Lord's spirit can be, a place filled with love and joy, not contention and sorrow.

This was a daunting assignment. I feel like there are some things we've done that have helped our family in this effort, but we have so much we could still improve. I don't have all the answers. Sometimes we'll go long periods of time with a loving spirit in our home and other times we'll hit a semi-truck-sized pothole and we'll have periods that make me wonder if we're ever going to drag ourselves out of the hole of short-tempered, contentious sludge.

But the assignment was what do we do right, so I listed six things we try to do that make our home a place the Lord can dwell. Although we don't always get it right, when we do, these things make a difference. A big difference.

Over the next little while, I'll be posting those six things. I hope they can make a difference in your family. I hope if these spark any ideas in your mind, you'll share them with us. (Maybe I'll do a post on your idea, too.) In this world that has so little regard or respect for home and family and the important things that happen there, we can use all the help we can get.

One - Avoid Rush and Haste and Uncontrolled Words - F. Enzio Busche

When my oldest child started school, I set a goal for myself. I decided that I'd try to become a morning person. This wasn't an easy task for me. I'd spent about thirty years snoozing until the last possible second and then rushing around in a frantic blur to get where I needed to get on time. Some mornings this worked out fine, but if I couldn't find matching socks or the homework I was supposed to have, I'd be ticked off and unpleasant. My lack of morning person skills made for many unpleasant mornings.

In order to become a morning person, I decided we needed to get up earlier so we wouldn't be rushed. So we did. And I discovered an amazing thing.

By getting up earlier, our morning was more relaxed. We may have missed out on that extra half hour or forty-five minutes of sleep, but we traded that in for an unhurried breakfast. When there was a paper that needed signed or a page of homework that had been forgotten, it could be handled without anger, frenzy or tears. If one of my girls was having trouble deciding what to wear, there was time to try on several outfits and make a choice instead of being forced to wear something that made her feel uncomfortable or self-conscious all day. We're able to have a prayer and read a chapter of scriptures together.

We all have our own speedometer. I have kids who move through their morning routine quickly and efficiently. I have others who dawdle and tinker. Forcing the dawdler to move at a breakneck pace just makes them anxious and frustrated. The quick ones can always find things to do--they can get a chore finished early or they can read or get their music practicing finished.

Like I said above, our family is far from perfect, but in the fifteen years since my kids started school, I can probably count on my fingers the number of times that we've had a big fight in the morning or someone has left the house having said  things that they had to regret all day. This is one thing I'm happy to say we're pretty good at.

When we're rushed, physical things happen to us. Our blood pressure goes up and our breathing becomes shallower. When we have time, we can stay relaxed and calm.

I can say with complete conviction that I wouldn't trade the peace and calm of our mornings for that extra sleep. If your mornings are chaotic and rushed, if your family leaves and you have to feel guilty about the things that were said, if it was filled with nagging, yelling, or tears, I challenge you to give it a try. Get up earlier and see what a beautiful thing it is to have a calm morning and send everyone on their way with peace.


Tawnie said...

I too have learned the beauty of this. I LOVE unrushed mornings.
Do your kids have daily chores? Do they practice music daily?
I need help there. How do I get a chore and practicing to be just something they do?
That is something, that if done, would help the feeling of out home. And my kids need to learn to be more responsible.

Tawnie said...

By the way, I love this series and am looking forward to each lesson. Thanks for sharing.

Karey said...

Tawnie, I wish I had all the answers when it comes to chores and practicing. I've found that the music practicing depends so much on the child and how much they like the instrument. At the beginning of piano and guitar, my kids didn't love to practice and it was something they had to do but didn't like to do. Now they practice without being told because they like playing. I never actually reached that point myself, in my own piano lessons as a youth.

I'm not great on the chore thing. During the summer I think we have a good system. The kids have to do their chores (usually either specific jobs or a set time) before they can play or watch television.

During the school year, it's harder. I still have the kids help out but I have them do a lot less because I hate for their lives to be all school and work with no time to play or relax.

That probably wasn't helpful at all. If anyone has any good suggestions on this, let us know.

Lesa said...

Thank you, thank you, thank you!!! This was a much needed post for me and I am looking forward to the others. Excellent words of wisdom. This is why I looooove your blog. Thanks again!