My children love their routines and the security they bring. They like knowing that there will be homemade bread with jam, fruit and individual yogurt cups for Sunday breakfast; floor cleaning days mean getting to watch Mr. Rogers’ Neighborhood and The Donut Man; they get to pack their own backpacks when we go on outings or road trips; they will get to eat snacks when we go to the park; Friday is Family Fun Night; there is usually popcorn that accompanies Family Book Night; they can shout “Brefaassss!!!” when I carry the breakfast-laden tray to the table as they eagerly watch.
They love their routines but in the process have the false assumption that they know everything since they know their routines so well. This can lead to an offsetting of their equilibrium when something changes, resulting in them lashing out at what they hold most dear: their routine. They will firmly declare, “No Mr. Rogers!” or “No, we’re not going to Costco!” as if this will suddenly make their frustration go away. It’s comical because it is nonsensical but at the same time I inwardly blush for I see myself in their limited knowledge of life. I assume that because nothing has changed in a while that things will always be the same. I get cocky in the familiar or anxious when unexpected change happens. I am confident that my well-laid plans will play out and get angry when they don’t, like today.
Today was supposed to be the first day of preschool. I have been planning it for months and was eagerly anticipating a fun-filled morning started off with a tasty breakfast and deep conversations. Instead, frustration and discouragement greeted me as soon as I woke up. Things went from bad to worse and I knew my heart was not in the correct posture for introducing my little ones to structured learning. With great sorrow I postponed preschool. Inside I felt crushed and kept asking myself what went wrong? What am I supposed to learn from this?
It took me a while to regroup and salvage the day but in the process of cleaning my floors, rescuing laundry from the thunderstorm and helping my kids make birthday and thank you cards I was reminded of why we homeschool. God doesn’t wait for a scheduled time to sit me down and teach me something; instead, He weaves His character-shaping lessons into the course of daily life. That’s exactly what happened today. We read alphabet books on the floor; talked about social etiquette and sentence structure while making cards; practiced forgiveness in sibling squabbles on the couch; and encouraged initiative and helpfulness when one child ran errands with my husband and another helped me get dinner in the crockpot.
Just like I see my children’s immaturity in their assumption that they know it all because they are masters of their routine, I see that I need to trust God with the ins and outs of my own plans. I can prepare for the unexpected when life is going on placidly and when it takes me by surprise I can adapt and embrace the growth it causes. Peace comes in knowing that my understanding is limited and tomorrow will always remain a mystery. I guess preschool happened after all! For me and them!
Have any of your plans been upset recently? Are you satisfied with how you responded to the change?