This week, I’ve been writing about what I am calling The Practice. Practices are those rhythms that give our children a sense of safety and calm that comes from predictability and limited choices. I started thinking about them after reading Simplicity Parenting. Last night, I wrote about our dinner schedule. Here are a few other practices:
- Nightly Prayers. If we don’t go up to pray for the boys at night, they holler down, “Someone needs to pray for us. We can’t sleep without prayer!” Jeff prays that God would help them sleep. I pray the priestly blessing over them from Numbers, chapter 6, in the Bible. It’s the blessing that Aaron prayed over the Israelites.
The LORD bless you and keep you;
The LORD make His face shine upon you,
And be gracious to you;
The LORD lift up His countenance upon you,
And give you peace.
I add All the days of your life to the end. Not sure why. I think it’s because my memory is so bad that I messed up the prayer early on. Now I can’t seem to lose it. Not mention that it’s the boys favorite part of the prayer. Each night, they shout out that last line in unison with me.
- Morning Devotions. Monday through Friday during the school year, we meet at 8:15 or 8:45, depending on Jeff’s cycling schedule. We do Sorry, Thank You, Please prayers. We work on memorizing a scripture verse. We read the Bible, sing a song, and learn about the history of Christianity in different parts of the world. And we do all of that in thirty minutes. I don’t know that the boys particularly like this rhythm, or feel calmed by it, or rely on its predictability as an anchor in their lives. But it certainly lets them know what we think is important. Plus, their rotten behavior during Family Devotions gives them lots to repent of during the Sorry portion of the prayer.
- Sabbath. Every Friday night, we give tzedakah; we butcher the Hebrew prayers; I light the Sabbath candles; we bless and drink the wine; we break and eat the challah; and then we eat pizza. That last bit is not part of the ancient tradition, but I think that if the Rabbis had known about pizza back then, it would have been. If you are interested, we follow this wonderful little book as our guide. It has the prayers in Hebrew and English, and it has poems for your children to read.