In the same way that nature has a natural rhythm, I like to have some sort of order to our weeks. Some of this is planned for me, e.g. music lessons, clubs etc, and some I put into place. I’ve found that children often like the reassurance of a routine; they like to know what happens when, and associate certain activities…and even foods…with certain days.
So, in addition to the external activities, we always have a family Bible study/discussion/prayer time on Sunday afternoon. This goes alongside a picnic tea, whether outside in the garden or, more frequently, inside in front of the fire. It usually entails constant interruptions with sibling squabbles, spilt food and fidgety littlies….but the important thing is that we do it. I’ve found giving the girls worksheets to colour in whilst us and the boys have a more in-depth discussion is helpful.
On Mondays, which is a day my eldest is not in college, the boys and I spend some time looking at some current issues and then praying for our nation. And on Friday, before he goes to college in the afternoon, we have a brunch and a short devotional time together. We used to read the Bible together and pray most days, but obviously this needs to adapt as our children move on to education outside of the home.
We all, including Dad, have a late breakfast of porridge (cooked deliciously by him) on a Saturday morning, and do some type of family devotion and discussion. At the moment we’re listening to an abridged version of “The Pilgrims Progress”, which leads to some great debates.
Food wise…one of the boy’s cooks on Wednesday, and we all have “oven food” (chips etc) on a Tuesday before music lessons. We also watch “Dads Army “while we eat. If we ever have chips on another day, our youngest always asks for Dads Army and expects the lessons to follow! Saturday lunch is a meal I try to put a bit of effort into, as we’re all generally home and it’s our rest day.
These routines have developed and adapted over time and will continue to do so. And of course, we don’t have to stick rigidly to them. But, in a fast-paced world, I find it comforting to know there are some small things that seem to be reliably the same.