A couple once shared with me that they had no balance in their lives. Their home seemed like a battlefield filled with daily conflicts. Their children were frustrated and discontent most of the time. As a husband and wife, they felt like they couldn’t find margin in their lives to do the things necessary to make their marriage and home life better. Frustrated and in tears, they said they couldn’t find peace in the midst of the chaos, and they were about to give up.
After a little more discussion, I asked them if they had any sort of routine in their daily or weekly schedule. The wife responded to me quickly that she had grown up in a very structured home, and now she absolutely did not believe in sticking to any type of schedule. Many couples run from routines and schedules because of a bad experience growing up in environments where they were rigidly enforced. The truth is, a routine or schedule is not a bad thing. But like most things, if not done with moderation, a routine or schedule can be a nightmare on children and their parents.
In the book “Parenting Beyond Your Capacity,” Reggie Joiner unpacks the concept of every family developing their own “rhythm.” While routine and structure might be built on a clock or sequence, a rhythm is based upon the unique dynamics and flow of each individual family. All too often, families try to adopt a schedule based on something they’ve read. But taking a standard approach and applying it to a specific family can be difficult. Every family has its own unique qualities and will need a certain type of flow that fits them specifically, so this approach can feel like putting a square peg in a round hole.
After a while, we find ourselves following a specific routine that doesn’t make sense to us because it was written in a parenting book that could never take into consideration our unique situation. Peace in the home happens when a family understands a certain set of principles and then creates their own rhythm based on these principles. This approach ensures parents and children know what to expect each day and week, creating harmony in the home.
Once I explained this strategy to this particular couple, they developed a calendar for their home based upon their current schedule. They eliminated some events that were breaking the family apart with stress and tension. At the same time, they had room to add some things that would bring their family together, like game night and pancake breakfasts.
This schedule soon created an amazing rhythm they were excited about. In the weeks to come, they found conflicts began to lessen and their enjoyment grew as they finally found some type of balance in their lives.
Life in today’s world can get messy.
If you are struggling in the day to day, try working on your calendar and create a rhythm that works specifically for you.
It doesn’t take much to have peace.
Terry Scalzitti is Associate Pastor for Adult and Family Ministries at First Baptist Fort Lauderdale. He and his wife Jennifer have a son, Connor, and spend their free time enjoying the outdoors and watching Terry’s beloved Chicago Cubs.