I love surprises, variety, challenges. Most of us have had an increasing diet of all of these just by living in these times, defined by the word challenging! There is such a thing as too many surprises, nothing but variety and unending challenges.
When I stumbled across the word routine recently, I was surprised at how comforting it felt. I stopped and contemplated the word. Routine - doing the same thing in the same way, ongoing. I can barely remember how long it has been since my life was routine.
Children need routine to feel grounded, secure. Their days need some structure and a minimum of uncertainty. A routine family meal for instance.
Unfortunately, the family dinner table that once anchored a daily routine has been gradually disappearing, replaced with serial eating while individual family members come one at a time to the kitchen and stand at a counter wolfing down food. Eating together is often relegated to a drive- thru meal in the family car on the way to 'practice.'
Adults, as much as children, need some down time, individually and together, especially in a world that seems to move at the speed of light.
The reasoning that began a schedule that eventually replaced the family dinner was meant to help the children. Parents don't want their children to miss any opportunity to learn, perform, play and experience anything and everything on the way to becoming a 'well-rounded' adult.
What children miss is the certainty and comfort of sitting with their family each day, exploring that day in the safe harbor of a loving family, developing conversational skills, growing into a 'well-rounded' adult.
I believe children can participate in sports or learn to play a guitar or join a church group and still enjoy the benefits of sitting down with their family on a routine basis. What I do not believe is that they need to do everything, all at once, at the expense of the family dinner table.
Parents also need some routine, time to see their children sitting still, providing the opportunity for conversation. Adults, as much as children, need some down time, individually and together, especially in a world that seems to move at the speed of light. We all need an anchor to slow us down and let us experience being still. Otherwise, days merge into weeks and become months until years disappear while we barely notice.
With all the challenges that exist in a world where we view everything happening in the world as it happens, we all need some time without TV and without any plan other than sitting down with the people we love most to review our real lives.
Routine is living in our own lives one day at a time.
Jean Loxley-Barnard has been a writer all her life and studied both sociology and psychology at George Washington University where she earned a B.A. Her company, The Shopper, Inc., encompasses all the Loxley-Barnard family publications - The Shopper Magazines and Doctor to Doctor Magazine. She has been in the advertising, consulting and publishing business for 39 years.
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