This reflection is excerpted from the book, Belonging and Becoming: Creating a Thriving Family Culture, chapter 3, A Thriving Family Finds Its Rhythm.
I like to know what to expect and what’s expected of me. I like getting new calendars, making to-do lists and reading course syllabi. Although I don’t always come off as the most tidy and organized person (my room is usually cluttered, my sleep schedule is unpredictable), I love having expectations that I feel confident will be met.
When I was growing up, our weekly and daily family rhythms were a source of stability. I knew to expect to have dinner together unless other plans were made in advance. I knew that on Thursday nights we’d have Dad and Kid Night, while mom went out and got a break. I knew that on Friday nights we’d all eat pizza and watch a movie and that on Sunday nights we’d check in as a family.
I could count on yearly traditions as well. I knew Mom would give us that day off of school for out birthdays, and we’d have breakfast in bed while we looked at baby pictures. I eagerly awaited the couple of weeks leading up to Christmas when we’d have Santa’s Workshop days when we made gifts for friends and family.
Having an established rhythm built trust within our family. We were expected to show up for the rhythms of the day, the week or the year, and we expected Mom and Dad to do their part in upholding the sacredness of our traditions and routines. These rhythms provided space and time for checking in, for celebrating, for learning or playing together, and for supporting each other through rough seasons.
As we have gotten older, the rhythms have shifted to accommodate our changing needs. We still check in as a family once a week, ask each other about the highs and lows of the past seven days and pray for whatever challenges each person is facing. Sometimes the check-in is rushed by the necessity of homework or other outside commitments, but knowing that we’ll all be in the same space soon, sharing about our lives, is comforting and valuable.
Rhythm is a powerful tool for ensuring that the way we choose to spend our time reflects what’s most important to us. During the school year, my rhythms are mainly based on my schoolwork, my family, my friends and maintaining my emotional/spiritual landscape – all things that are important to me. Truth be told, I don’t have this down yet. But due to our family practices, I have a solid framework for cultivating and striving for rhythms that will create space for the most important things in my life.
Hailey Joy Scandrette is Founder and Editor in Chief of Ignighted Magazine, an online magazine and community of people ages 18-30 seeking to follow the teachings and actions of Jesus through incarnational living. She is also the daughter of Mark and Lisa Scandrette, authors of Belonging and Becoming: Creating a Thriving Family Culture. This piece is excerpted from the book (pp. 78-79) in the chapter, “A Thriving Family Finds Its Rhythm”.