In February, back in my pre-Pandemic, hectic life, I was wishing for just one day with free time. Free time with nowhere to go, nothing to do, no deadlines, and no commitments. Just one day. Now I am missing structure and organization, missing the deadlines, missing the rhythm of a normal day.
I am reminded of the Creation story in Genesis, where God created the world. At first, the world was a chaotic mass. God created a natural order of day and night to help give us boundaries and a rhythm of life. It is this natural order and rhythm of each day that I need to help recreate with my family.
Each of us can be reminded to divide our days into a beginning, a middle, and an end. Children are looking for direction from adults. How can we as adults help guide our family into a more productive rhythm of each day?
First, as a family or as an individual, establish a general schedule for the day. Include a set time for reading, physical activity, learning, the Arts, and family time. Encourage young children to play independently for small periods of time, middle-school-age children can read or be active independently, older children can help organize family activities. Have some alone time and together time.
Next, stick to your schedule. Do it for 7 days and make sure all members of the family know that after 7 days, discussion can be made for improvements or changes.
Add in some unexpected family fun during the week. A special game or a special meal!
Here are a few ideas that can be incorporated in any week:
- Mailbox Messages
Each Monday, create a small sign to hang from your mailbox with a message of encouragement to all who pass by. “Have a Nice Day!” or “Be Kind to Others” or “Keep Up the Good Work!” Come up with your own message.
- Time Zone Activity
We have all seen the world time zone clocks on a back wall of a news program. Learn which countries are in the different time zones. When your clock strikes 12:00 noon, choose a different time zone to explore. Select a different country and discover what cities are in that country. What types of foods are eaten? What types of games are played and so forth? Lunch and learn about a new country each week.
- Physical Activity
Working out and seeing improvement in stamina and strength is good for everyone! Youtube.com can help provide some fun family workouts. Try introducing your family to Richard Simmons “Sweatin’ With the Oldies” or watch any of the USA National Jump Rope Competitions and try to improve your skills. Laughing is good exercise, too!
- Who in our Family?
As a parent, you know the most about each member. Try to stump your family with questions pertinent to your family members. Suggested prompts: ‘Who in our family loves the color_____?’ or ‘Who in our family was born on the ____ day of the month?’ or ‘Who in our family has a ___ in their room?’ or ‘Who in our family never wants to eat_____?’ or ‘Who in our family has ___as their middle name?’ These are just examples. Many more are in your imagination. Just make sure you fill in the blanks with words that fit your family members. Don’t forget to ask questions about Grandparents, Aunts, Uncles and cousins! Use this as a time to learn about your family. Next week, let another family member be the stumper.
Finally, as we all try to form some sort of natural order, be assured that this is a time to be used for positive opportunities. Each day does not have to be jam-packed with activities, but the idea of supporting a rhythm of each day is beneficial in this time where every day is filled with free time.
From Ecclesiastes 3: 1 we are reminded, “There’s a season for everything and a time for every matter under the heavens.”
It is during this time and during this event where our free time can be invested wisely for learning and teaching.
Patty Diehl is a member of Woodmont Baptist Church in Nashville, TN.