Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Daily, weekly, monthly, seasonally, yearly

“Daily, weekly, monthly, seasonally, yearly. Simple health-giving rhythms. Wake up times, meal times, outdoor times, chores, story time, cleaning, caring, nurturing the heart, the hands, the home, the head, caring for the responsibilities of our lives in a rhythmic fashion. We wash our clothes on Mondays, we hang them to dry and iron them on Tuesdays. We bake our bread on Fridays, fresh for the week end, we clean our home on Saturdays, ready for company dinners on Sundays. We paint each Thursday, we enjoy handwork, we take care of ourselves and our home each day with steady precise rhythm. Rice on Monday, and so on..”

The above quote is from a Waldorf list I am on but it got me thinking about the routines and rhythms of our days. I agree with her that these are important. Often when the “little things” like book work get not done or something out of the ordinary happens in our family, these are the things we “stick by”, that help us to find identity as a family. I would also add that they help in the training of good habits just by them being constant in our life. So no matter what we will light a candle at breakfast. In spit of things we will have breakfast together and mum will read to us or we will listen together to our book from audible etc.

Here then are some of the routines and rhythms in our life.

Firstly we have the great rhythm of the church in the liturgical year. No we don’t celebrate each year the same but we do celebrate. The children know that after Christmas comes a very short space of ordinary time during which they are always asking “when will it be Lent” “is it nearly Lent”(yes they look forward to Lent!) They know that during Lent at the very least the colour purple will predominate. They know we will pray the Stations of the Cross more often and they insist we put up the grapevine. The other things like special prayers, activities etc may change each year but these will remain constant.

They love Easter and know this is a time for white to predominate! White on the altar, white candles to be lit at breakfast and always the rejoicing that the Alleluia is back to stay!

May and Mary are synonymous and while we try to do different things each May the fact that May means Mary is “a given”.

Pentecost and “something with flames” and “red, we need red” is heard.

And so the year goes on until the Feast of St Andrew which always spells the beginning of another favorite season “Advent” and the year begins all over again.

Throughout the year we will add different feast days some years and others we will not do anything particular for that day except to note its passing. But always is the thought that our lives are closely intertwined with that of the church and throughout our celebrations of the liturgical year our whole selves (what we see, what we taste, what we touch and what we smell)are drawn in closer to His heart.

Our daily rhythm begins with breakfast. I get up before the boys and make the porridge for those that like it (all year!), set the table and light the candles. Yes I could get the boys to make their own breakfast but for us part of their daily constant is to come out and see a table set with bowls and cereal and a candle lit. I have not always done this with the older children but ds(19) commented recently how he liked to get up and see the table set for the younger boys so it is a constant now for him too.

A little later dd (17) comes down to make her and I our morning coffee. Why don’t I make it well again this is part of our rhythm and also it is an occasion where she enjoys serving someone else. She used to stay and listen to our morning story but she is studying for year 12 and so a new season begins. But the boys and I listen to our story or else I read. And always at the end of breakfast are morning prayers.

Often this is the Angelus with our special intercessions added at the end. For Master T not to ask the intercession of St Pio of Pietrelecina and St Joseph or for Master L not to ask the same of St James and St John Bosco would be outside the structure of these prayers. Why a devotion to these saints? James and Joseph are explained as being both boys middle names but as for the others I am uncertain perhaps a story I read, something they heard at Mass, whatever they have stuck to these saints in their devotion like glue and for my part I am glad they have for none of us know when the help of a particular saint or the lives of one of God’s beloved may not help us to live our own lives better.

Anyway back to rhythms. The boys have chores; they each have particular pets they look after. The 7yo knows it is his duty to feed our hens, check for eggs and get food for the turtle (she likes to dance when she sees him coming!...is that her little ritual)The 11y feeds our other birds, the rabbit and the dogs.

The boys know that before schoolwork starts it is violin practice. The format of this will change often sometimes every week, but it is “a given” that this will happen each morning before school.

Then school time. It will always begin with our circle time. I don’t know why we call it this, as we don’t all sit in a circle. I suppose it is a carry over from my teaching days when the children and I would sit around in a circle. Anyway for us the name works, a constant. This circle time is our time for doing all the things we learn together. With a 4 year gap in ages many subjects such as writing and maths necessitate different work for each boy but we begin our time together, a definite, a constant.

Now Circle time has two fixed routines. The boys and I are slowly working our way through “English from the roots up “ and each day we read some poetry together. For now it is the poems of Stevenson that we are focusing on.

The other parts of our Circle time at the moment are our Lenten Bible studies. I borrowed this idea from here. As we already have the Jesse tree devotions well in our rhythms for Advent adding more on the life of Christ after His birth seemed a good idea to follow on. As well we are reading a wonderful book called "The Hidden Years" which is a fictional account of the childhood of Jesus, well worth finding if you can as so many of the chapters relate back to Holy Scripture. For instance today the child Jesus and his friend spent time with animals and birds and there was a quote from that passage in Isaiah about the lion lying down with the lamb etc. After Circle time we “do school”. No point in elaborating, as the details are not the routine, the routine is that we do certain subjects at some time during this morning period.

The next rhythm is piano practice and lunch and mum’s computer time!. Afterwards the boys are free or there may be an excursion or appointment. These too have their ritual, so the boys know that Monday afternoon is swimming, Friday is piano lessons etc.

Later in the afternoon the boys may help with folding washing or tea preparation. After our evening meal the family comes together for prayer. Because it is Lent we like to pray the Stations of the Cross as well as focus on one decade of the rosary, often the sorrowful mysteries. I have already described how we pray the stations in an earlier post but again you can see a rhythm in it. The boys always come to us

for a final blessing before bed. They usually read themselves to sleep.And there is a not so brief explanation of some of the rhythms in our family.


Mary said...

That's a nice rhythm you have got going. Can we put regular coffee catch ups with Mary as a beat? TA

Aliadelaide said...

I thought that was a given Mary!

Cheryl said...

Thank you for showing me your post. I have been thinking a lot about rhythms recently (will probably put something more on my own blog soon!). I think that the importance of such structure cannot be over-emphasized. Instead of confining our children, such rhythms help them to thrive and give them confidence.

Aliadelaide said...

You are very welcome Cheryl and I look forward to reading your next post on this important subject