Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Routine Is Necessary; Flexibility A Must!

Every once in a while I find that I'm slipping in my routines around the house. It usually coincides with things like spring fever, time changes, and new activities outside the home. Then every fall, I clamp down and become rigid with routines again. It's a balance I must constantly monitor. Today's post is another reprint from my old blog - one of the first posts I ever wrote. Can I just confess that I needed to reread this? Humor me and read along...

Any guesses as to what has caused a hiccup in my schedule lately?

Aren't routines the opposite of being flexible? Well, yes. I suppose you could say that. Having taught for a number of years in both public and privates schools as well as homeschooling, I've had my share of opportunities to observe children. Without routines, kids loose their compass; nothing to stand firm on that is solid ground. After a while, life becomes like a dark forest with no escape in which the unexpected is always thought to be ready to pop out from behind a tree.

Don't misunderstand me. Routines can have a down side, too. Life can become legalistic if there is no room for flexibility. Especially if you are very disciplined and can maintain that routine really well. A mom in this mode quickly becomes the wicked Witch of the West to those who dare to upset the apple cart! 

Learning to allow for the unexpected without abandoning routines makes for a rhythm that is much more gentle on the family. Let's face it. We really don't have control over all that life brings our way. Why not learn to move with the Spirit and enjoy the adventure?

All of us lean one way or the other depending on our personality. Some of us thrive on life changing every hour, seeking new adventures constantly. Anything less is boring. The rest of us come unhinged without daily routines running like clockwork. An interruption is devastating. Which are you characterized by?

• Evaluate your family life and determine if you need to set some routines for your clan that will give everyone something to come back to after each unexpected detour.

• If you are bound to routines too tightly, then learn to be at peace when the unexpected arises, knowing that you will return to the routines afterward. Relax your shoulders and your jaw. Smile, laugh, and cherish the moment with your loved ones!

• Instruct the kids as to basic routines that will guide each day. Keep them simple, constant, and where they can be viewed until they become a habit. You may need to add only one or two things at a time until everyone adjusts.

• Don't forget to get your spouse's input for things that should be a priority for your family. When both parents are a part of the planning, success is more likely to be attained.

You're probably wondering if I've mastered this myself. No, but I can say that I've grown a lot in this area. And I'm still working on it. This is really what it's all about. Enjoying all the little moments that make up life.

When I was a young, every Saturday my father would routinely get us all out in the yard to work. Toward the end of the day he always hosed off the back porch and put on a couple of steaks to grill. This didn't happen every week, but nearly every Saturday. There was the time we went hunting instead. I can picture it now in my mind...

Routines create traditions; the unexpected creates memories. May you be blessed with both.


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