In addition to talking to our babies and toddlers in the mornings, Dad also communicated with our toddlers and preschoolers at night through what we called “Malachi Time.” Based on the verse in Malachi about “turning the hearts of the fathers to the children and the children to the fathers,” Ray would tuck each child (age two or so and above) in their beds and talk to them. Sometimes he might read to them; sometimes it might be a quick prayer time. Other times, depending on the kids’ needs, Malachi Time would be a thirty to sixty minute event. (We often alternated who got short “Malachis” and who got long ones, making exceptions or changes to the schedule based on kids’ needs [and kids’ behavior—i.e. bad behavior sometimes needed even more talk time-- that day!].)
Malachi time was such a special time for our olders that they all remember it fondly. They remember that Dad never had to hurry them to bed in order to go watch sports or play his computer game. He never had to rush through their bedtime in order to do his own thing. They knew he always had time for them. (And yes, he worked a lot—had a demanding job working sixty hours a week minimum at that time.)
I have fond memories of our little Cami when she was two chasing Ray around the living room crying out, “Ky ky time! Ky Ky time!” (How many two year olds do we know who beg to go to bed?? Smile…) Truly, Malachi time was the beginning of a long (fifty to seventy year?) tradition of availability for our children.