Wednesday, May 27, 2015

A New Dinner Tradition

When days are busy and nights are long, it's easy for a family to get into a flow of negativity. In our family, I've noticed this most at supper time when we all sit down together and ask each other about our day. Brandon says, "How was your day, Honey?" and I respond by throwing up all the frustration in me.

There was spilled milk and bickering and someone didn't take their nap and the baby cried all the way to such-and-such and we really need to clean the bathrooms.

"And how was your day, Baby?"

He tells me how long the to-do list was and how short the time was and our children are listening and learning how to live their lives with a critical eye. 

I'm afraid my rants will be especially damaging as my children are growing older and they understand that I am talking about them and pointing out their weakest moments to their Dad--the moments they were clumsy, angry, or hurt and it made my day difficult.

A new tradition is changing all that though.

We have started taking turns going around the table first and mentioning when we saw someone exhibit a Fruit of the Spirit that day.

It's the simplest change, but it's breaking the cycle.

Now instead of unleashing the complaint beast, we are seeing and speaking about how God is daily growing our family in love. 

The conversation sounds like me boasting, "Today Rebekah needed to nurse and have her diaper changed right at lunchtime, but Kai showed patience by finding something fun to do while he waited instead of complaining about being hungry."

Then Kai says, "Yes, and Caleb showed kindness today when he let me have a turn with his new yo-yo!"

Daddy points out how mommy showed love by cooking a healthy dinner and I point out how Daddy shows love by getting up to his alarm clock every morning and going into work.

Caleb noticed Joe show gentleness when Joe stopped to hug him after a scooter tumble.

After just two days I also saw these conversations help us open up our eyes more to the moments that we need the Holy Spirit's help. For example, every evening for a couple of months Joe and Caleb have been having a fight about their pull-ups. The pull-ups come in two different patterns--monster trucks and skate boards. Caleb always wants his pull-up to match Kai's and Kai does not want to match. There was an argument about it every single night until we said, "We need the Holy Spirit to help us here. He brings peace. I think we need someone to show love. We either need Caleb to be okay with not matching or we need Kai to be okay with matching." Caleb stepped up to the plate and said, "I can do it. Kai, you can wear whatever pull-up you want. I don't have to match you." Not to be outdone, Kai quickly changed his pull-up to match Caleb's and they both went to bed happy and proud of themselves.

So simple and so powerful.

Once this tradition is really solidified I think it will be a great way to also move other scripture from memory into intentional practice.

If you want to try it out with your family, a great way to help your kiddos learn the Fruits of the Spirit is with song. We love the 90's blast from the past song from Steve Green's CD "Hide 'Em In Your Heart Volume 2".There are a couple great videos on youtube also. This one cracks my kids up. There's also a coloring page here and a pretty printable here.

Have you found any simple habits or traditions that create a more  positive atmosphere in your home? I'd love to hear them!

1 comment:

  1. That sounds like an excellent tradition. We may need to try it!