The Structure That Holds Us Up

Routines expand time for our long-term goals that spontaneity would steal. While it sometimes feels great to loosen the boundaries of life, we also lose sight of important priorities in the process.

These words concluded my post last week about making writing a priority. The phrase is mine, but the idea came from my teen daughter.

After she returned from a vacation at Grandpa’s and Grandma’s farm, she asked, “Can we get back on a schedule?” She discovered that late nights with her cousins and sleeping in steals time from the day.

Ironically, by the end of our stay-at-home vacation I felt the same thing, too. The later and later mornings had displaced some of our good spiritual habits. I wasn’t ready to see them go, and I panicked.

“What’s going to happen when our children leave home?” I asked. “Will we lose all the important routines we created?”

“Only for the first week,” Paul joked.

In those more relaxed and less structured days away from our children, we enjoyed ourselves. But I also remembered the unintended blessing of nurturing my children—personal spiritual development.

The bounds we establish for our kids don’t just teach, guide and support them toward what’s right; they also discipline our time and character. That’s so obvious I often miss it.

I explained this once to a skeptical friend. She said, “That’s a lot of pressure on yourself.”

I guess it is. But the positive pressure to limit ourselves, change our behavior and focus our time on spiritual priorities is an example that expands all of us.


  1. I absolutely agree! In fact, I almost wrote a post about schedules and kids yesterday. My kids are home all this week without any camps or other regular scheduled activities. I knew we would all do better with some structure to the week–I would feel more relaxed knowing that I had scheduled times to get at least a minimal amount of work done, and the kids would feel more relaxed knowing what to expect from each day. When they know something fun is planned for the afternoon, it also helps them tackle chores and leave me alone for my work time. Last week I had more time to myself, but didn’t use that time as wisely, overall.

  2. Raya
    Jul 28, 2009

    Yup, With Ewan, our schedule master at Camp, we had some loosing around here too- for good and bad. My autistic children love to live without scheduels- but then loose themselves and start melting down. Oh well… back to the 4 hour bedtime routine.

  3. Terresa Wellborn
    Jul 29, 2009

    Your thoughts are beautiful and resonate with me. The fact that our own children also discipline our time and character…ahhh, yes. True. So true. And I am thankful for that.

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