Wednesday, February 15, 2012

The Rain

In a house full of kids I often don't even know when it's raining outside. The sound of rain falling is so peaceful- when you can hear it. Which I can't unless inside it's peaceful too. I can hear the rain right now because the children are in bed, exhausted after two long, but good days. We've been to Chicago twice in the last 24 hours. Once for dinner to celebrate being Teshome's family for a whole year. And once for a nature museum adventure that included lots of water. Not rain, just water. But this post isn't about either one of those things. It's about peace.

These children God gave me are wonderful, but wild. And loud. And bossy. And imaginative. Most of that is good most of the time. However, I decided that we need to have scheduled times of quiet (notice I didn't say "silence").

Before Pete found me, back when I was dreaming of the man and all the babies I wanted to have, I had no idea how loud that life would be. I was an only child until I was nearly 9 years old. In high school and college I loved to light candles and read poetry and write in my journal. Those are all quiet activities. I crave quiet and look forward to it at the end of the day. I love it at the beginning of the day too and that is the reason I get up so early even though I am nearly always tired.

Anyway, I have a few things that I'm doing with the children to try to have them appreciate quiet and inspire peace. I want our busy and often chaotic life to also be filled with moments of deliberate observation and thought. And so we are-

1. Working much harder to have a long time of reading aloud in the afternoon. This is generally soon after lunch with all 6 kids grabbing their sketch pads and sharing my can of colored pencils and twistables (letting them all get all of their different supplies, coloring books, etc turned into chaos so we keep it simple now).

2. For our read aloud right now, we are enjoying a book called Happy Little Family


It is a fun book about the adventures of a family with 5 children and I can see that you kind of are what you read- our children are loving reading about the relationships of these 4 sisters and 1 brother and I think it's making them just a little sweeter to one another.

3. Sitting at he table together every evening around 7:30 or 8 to have a quiet cup of tea. Usually this is family worship time too which tends to work better than right after dinner. The kids get in pj's and sit and sip (NOT slurp) and listen to God's Word and review our catechism. Why? I think there is something really special about the ritual and sharing of a hot drink.

4. Setting 8 pm as the time when ALL loud and crazy play must be over. No wrestling, no yelling, no running through the house, no jumping, stomping, rolling down the stairs, or any of the other crazy loud body things they do.

Well, that's all I've come up with so far, but I'm hoping to find more ways to help all of us feel calm in the midst of the busyness of life.


Anita said...

I can understand your craving for peace. I long for solitude often. In our house, the 3 little ones (age 4 and under) are all in bed by 7. Then I read to my 2 older ones for about 45 minutes. This is a nice time to spend with the older ones and I really treasure it. Then at 8 it's bedtime for them too.

On Sunday, once again, the 3 little ones MUST nap in the afternoon. Our evening service starts at 6 and this also keeps them awake in the service. The other 2 MUST do something quietly. If they cannot be quiet I tell them they must also nap--until they can be disciplined enough to quietly entertain themselves. Sunday afternoon is my quiet time. I generally spend it reading, napping or taking a walk.

Every family and it's dynamics are different. I thought I'd share what we do. Even then, I still think our house is too noisy at times.

Blessings on your week as you serve the Lord in your family.

Chandra said...

This is a sweet post, Rachel. I like your ideas. We've used so many similar ones, and as you know are a family devoted to hot drinks and reading together. I'm glad you're liking the book! And I see you got a French press?!