Dinnertime at my cousins’ house was fun, former procrastinators. When my uncle came home from work, he and my aunt relaxed in their chairs; he read the newspaper, she did needlework. My cousins moved to the kitchen and completed the dinner preparations my aunt had begun earlier in the day. When dinner was ready, the girls called the family to the table.
Once when a lady was visiting and observed what was going on, she made the comment, “You’re so lucky to have girls like this!” My aunt responded, “Lucky nothing. I worked hard to make these girls like this.”
My aunt had trained her daughters. Her point was not that training was hard, but that training was required. My cousins were not born eager to work in the kitchen. However, routinely working alongside their mom, the girls learned to work independently and cheerfully. The reward was good for parents and girls. The reward lasted much longer than the training.
When we help our children learn to use routine to their advantage, we help establish excellent life skills. It’s worth the investment of time and energy. Persevere. Habits I did not see take hold while one child was at home, I now see in the adult. God is faithful. He uses our small but consistent efforts.
When the children were young, we grocery shopped together. Every week I explained how to select produce, how to compare prices and ingredients in the rest of the store. We reached the point where we were able to split up. The older child handled the produce (which takes longer) while the younger one and I covered the rest of the store. What a load lifter! Later the younger one took over produce. We must allow for mistakes, but I can’t recall a single poor decision by either child. It certainly cut down on our shopping time. And they learned important skills they still use.
Whether it’s how to read scripture and pray, make biscuits, or mow the lawn, it’s worth it to invest in training our children. When it comes to routine, they learn a skill that carries over into every area of life.
What routine are you training your children to use?