“During dinner Joshua and Kayla told some jokes from their joke books, and Mommy and Daddy talked about all of the yard work we have to do on Saturday. I don’t know why adults like to work so much! After dinner Daddy read to us from the Bible and we sang. I chose “Father Abraham,” which is my favorite song ‘coz I like the motions. We cleaned the kitchen quick so Daddy, Joshua, Josiah, and I could play army men.”
Again, we see Jonathan included in the family discussion and activities. Little kids just don’t want to be left out!
Additionally, our family had many, many traditions, as written about above--singing, cleaning the kitchen, and playing together in the evenings. (This excerpt took place over ten years ago, and guess what we did last night, these many years later? Cleaned up the meal, went outside and played Frisbee, came back in and played table games, and then had “spiritual discussions.” Traditions are things that never really change, you know?)
Traditions give our children something to hold onto—something that makes us our family, unlike everybody else’s. They are those things that we hear our children say, “We always…” Why? Because they love to say those words. They love to know that “we always” do this or that—that those are constances in their lives.
Another important point about today’s passage is that of the preschooler choosing a song. I have gone over and over how dangerous it is to children’s contentment and obedience to give them choices for which they are not ready too early—and how we are given to our children to make those choices for them until they are ready to do so. Likewise, however, I have stressed the importance of giving our children choices in things that are in their control. As long as our preschoolers obeyed, they got to choose books, songs, movies, games, etc. that we did all together. Jonathan always picked the same song—and that’s okay, too, because “he always…”
Lastly, I can’t stress enough the importance of (1) having normal times—just times to hang out, talk, play and be together; and (2) playing with our children. Ray played with the older kids nearly every night when they were little (while he worked at least sixty hours a week—it was a priority)—and he continues to play with our kids today, including our young adults! We wanted our kids to want to be home. We wanted our kids to choose family over others. One way that we could help those things happen was to play with them.