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 BuscheWhen 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.