Good morning, Five Minute Families. Did you know that every year May 18th is celebrated as the national No Dirty Dishes Day?
Apparently, according, to ‘time and date dot com,’ it is “a day you could celebrate by either not washing any dirty dishes or by washing all the dishes you can!”
Some families we know never go to sleep without a fully clean kitchen; others are washing dishes as they are needed. Either way, routine rules how you clean (or don’t clean) your dishes, and routine versus rut is what we want to discuss today.
As our pastor discussed the end of Mark chapter 10 and the blind beggar who sat every day on the side of the road, he mentioned how we should not get into ruts in our lives, especially in our relationship with the Lord. He used the words rut and routine interchangeably. I agree with the rut part but not the routine part, especially as a mom. A rut is “a habit or pattern of behavior that has become dull and unproductive but is hard to change.” We all get into ruts; Collins Dictionary says, “If you say that someone is in a rut, you disapprove of the fact that they have become fixed in their way of thinking and doing things, and find it difficult to change.” Basically, we can all agree that ruts are bad.
Ruts are not routines, however. Routines allow a family to consistently get needed tasks done. Jesus kept the routine of going to the synagogue as seen in Luke 4:16. Routines allow us to keep the family home organized, help everyone to know what is expected of them, and keep us from getting complacent or lazy. As one of our kids said, “Having no routine is not good because you never know what is going to happen next.” Research shows that children feel more secure and stable when their lives have routine.
So, how do we distinguish between rut and routine, especially for the family members who love spontaneity? Ask yourselves these questions:
1. Have healthy choices flown out the window?
2. Are you simply satisfied and unwillingly to change things?
3. Are you making any progress toward your goals?
4. Or, have you failed to set goals?
5. And, finally, do your family members get frustrated with you for your unwillingness to be flexible?
If you are in a rut or simply lacking in routine, start with the five-minute family five-minute concept. Just as we suggest you begin investing in your family five minutes a day, invest in your routines five minutes a day. To establish good routines that are rut-resistant, here are our five suggestions:
1. Don’t make everything routine, especially if you have someone in the family who loves surprises and enjoys changing things up. Choose only those necessary tasks that will make everyone’s life run more smoothly and work on those first. And, we must recognize that ruts are never good in our relationship with Christ, so make sure routines enhance your family’s Christian growth.
2. Discuss with each family member when they feel most inspired or energetic. Allow for personal differences, and plan certain routines around each person’s peak times if possible. For example, we homeschool. One of my sons hates algebra and he also hates mornings. He learns more and is less argumentative if I let him start his algebra later in his school day.
3. Make small changes to establish a new routine. For instance, instead of making an entire new schedule for the day, choose one time of day and focus there; you could choose to get a good bedtime routine in place to help with both bedtime AND the following morning rush. When you accomplish that, congratulate yourselves and celebrate together.
4. Make a plan but allow for flexible time changes and day restructuring. Another homeschooling example is that I follow the same routine for each child’s subjects. However, one of my younger sons really wants to start with science. I use his desire to do science as an incentive to get his other subjects done in a timely fashion. And, every once in a while, I switch it up and start with science, simply to put a smile on his face.
5. And, last, to avoid ruts AND especially for the spontaneous family member, have crazy days, like the National No Dirty Dishes Day.
Be kind to each other as you establish new routines and climb out of some of the ruts you may be experiencing. Don’t be rude or judgmental if you think someone in the family (or the entire family) is in a rut. Identify what might be a rut for you, embrace the positives of routine, and be willing to be spontaneous sometimes.
Remember as our fifteen-year-old said, “As long as you don’t become a Routine Zombie, you’ll be fine.” Thanks for joining us today, and we hope that the Lord will help you live life and live it more abundantly. Be blessed!