Sometimes my children are my prayer.
Aaaahhhh... The first 30 minutes of the day. Remember those moments when you were able to get up early, have a cup of coffee while the birds chirped outside and fall breezes rustled through the trees. A time of peace and quiet, when you could give your mind time to waken slowly and become alert before having to rush into the to-do list of the day.
I remember those days too. I loved them in high school - in a family with six children, in which I shared a bedroom and we had "only" one bathroom (thank God for inside plumbing at all!) those moments were precious to me. When I was in the Navy, my favorite time to stand watch was at the dead of the night. Those quiet hours. Even in basic training, my favorite watch time was "balls to two" (midnight to 2 a.m.) I learned early the value of those moments. I have even discovered a remarkable amount of patience for any trials in the day if I start out without speaking for the first 30 minutes.
With five children, a dog and the cat to think about, such moments of quiet are rare. Instead of waiting for them to happen, I have found a need to be intentional about making quiet moment happen. I am working not only to create those times for myself, but also to instill times of silence and respect for others in the children.
During the day when the older boys are working, Bruiser is frequently allowed free study time. Though he does work on some skill sets, his day is more flexible and open than Chef and Maestro. Because of this, his games need to involve quiet toys, such as Legos, blocks, cars and trains. Sometimes he helps keep Buttercup occupied by having a "tea party" with her.
Those "house" moments are important though. I use those moments of doing dishes, changing out laundry, mentoring the children and general clean up as moments of prayer. Sometimes I pray quietly to myself; sometimes I sing the hymns of our church; sometimes - though not often enough - I work instead to keep my brain from considering every other thing on the to-do list for the day. On some of those days, we take time to simply be together.
I get better at it, day by day and then pray that I'm not too late for my older boys to take a good lesson in patience. I've used the word "mentor" a lot and encouraged them to be good big brothers to their younger siblings. And after that, the work has to be left to God to sort out where I miss (else I start to "miss" my sanity!)
Linked up to:
Living Well Wednesdays and Raising Homemakers