It’s spring break week around here and we have been holding down the fort. No travel to sunny, warm beaches and no tackling of the spring cleaning chores. Just a simple week without school, without practices, without busyness. It is quieter without the rushing. I have gone grocery shopping, made phone calls to customers, and washed dirty dishes; but getting out of the normal routine helps change my perspective. This is what life would be like without all the commitments we have made. That doesn’t mean it’s time to drop Boy Scouts or tumbling or Bible study. It does make me wonder… How can we bring this quiet into the days filled with routine?
In our home, I am often the one who sets the tone. Will the morning be frantic with last minute reminders and requests dished out at the breakfast table? Will our heads hit the pillow filled with resentment and frustration? Many times the war for peace in our home experiences a turning of the tides because of my own choices. When I change, the responses from my family members do as well. Here are the questions I ask myself to invite quiet and rest into our home.
Am I too loud?
If anyone can talk ninety-miles-to-nothin’ and do it above all the other voices in a group, it’s me. I have learned that if my speech is competing among the others in my home, they are probably not listening no matter how high I crank my volume. Talking softly gets their attention more quickly, and calms my spirit.
Are devices too loud?
Modern technology doesn’t just include our laptops, televisions and music players; it includes washing machines and dishwashers. Can I do laundry and dishes while I am home alone during the day so that the home is quieter when we are together? Not only does the noise level decrease, my own busyness decreases. If I am not changing laundry over, I am better able to have a conversation with my husband about his day. With teenagers, you might turn the volume down on everyone’s cell phones until dinner is over. This area might be particularly challenging for parents of preschoolers. Try having a bin of non-electronic toys to be used only during dinner preparation such as wooden blocks, coloring books, and dolls.
Is our schedule too loud?
How many nights are you willing to have commitments each week? Over the last few years, I have learned that I need at least one night each week without any practices, clubs, or work. There have been exceptions to that rule for one or two weeks, but never as long as a month. With two children, each of them has one or two activities at any given time. I have known families who limit this to one per child or even one activity per season: one child can have a fall sport, another winter, another spring, etc.
I love to read and am planning on checking into other creative ideas to slow down and rest in Little House on the Freeway. Have you read it? Our Creator rested and He ordained a system of rest for the people of Israel, why do we think we can keep functioning effectively without it? What do you do to bring rest to your home?