Monday, April 01, 2013

Evening Quiet Retreat

One Sunday evening, our children were w-i-l-d. and, no kidding this happens more nights than I would like to admit. Something happens around 7:30, and they go bananas.

David walked through the craziness and encouraged everyone to get a book and sit quietly. One or two of them had trouble getting started on that idea and needed encouragement to sit still and quiet.

I was sitting at the school table and picked up a nearby book myself. Before I knew it, I had finished my chapter in complete silence. I carefully looked around, Emily was stretched out reading Ramona and Her Mother, Rachel had an Usborne fairy search and find book and Samuel was sitting at the table with me quietly coloring. I was afraid to even breathe for fear of breaking the wondrous spell that had fallen quietly over this noisy bunch.

It lasted for fifteen or twenty minutes, which floored me and also refreshed and calmed my frazzled state. At the beginning of the year when I chose quiet as my word, one of the things in my mind was an evening quiet retreat. The initial idea was different, but now I think is taking shape.

What if we did this every night? It would transform how much I despise bed time and the craziness that usually ensues. I closed the quiet by whispering that we needed to put our things quietly away and come together on the couch. We snuggled up with our new that day copy of Thoughts to Make Your Heart Sing and I spontaneously announced right then and there we'd be doing this every night. They were to be ready for bed including teeth brushed, jammies on and clean up finished at the appointed time for Evening Quiet.

Bed time was smooth and non stressful and while I know we can do anything once, it feels good and right and I am hopeful for great blessings from the investment in peace and quiet. Not to mention mama's nerves.

Fast forward one month since I originally wrote the above, we've continued the evening quiet time and it has been marvelous. Really, has made evenings so much less stressful in our home and especially for me. I cannot tell you how many times our children are the ones to get started on and remind about this time.

It's become a time of lamps and candlelight, books, quiet games, drawing, snuggling, reading, resting and just being together in a quiet way to end the day. 

Thank You, Lord for the glorious idea. For the chaos that prompted the desperation to start it and for the desire hidden in our hearts to continue it.


Tasha said...

Good for you and your family for sticking to it.
We also had/have this problem from time to time. And have also tried that quiet time, BUT it never sticks. We do good for so many days and then BAM something comes up and throws us off schedule. Do you find that problems yet? I would love to have that peace right before bedtime.

Monica Wilkinson said...

Hi Tasha: yes, that has happened to us over the month. We just pick back up when we are able, like so many things - whenever we can do it it's a blessing.

Emily said...

We have recently started a very similar time before bed and we are loving it! The kids definitely go down for bed much easier and my husband and I get a little time together before bed too! :)

Wendi said...

I am so happy you have found a great, quiet routine for your evening. Since Megan has been little (about 4) I insisted that we start winding down at 7 and have quiet at 7:30. We then read and have devotionals before bed. Not only is it good for Megan it is good for mom and dad too!

pippasmum said...

Thank you for this post. I'd love to try this idea. I find our lives are so busy and we get into too much of a frenzy - a quiet time together, at home, is just what we need.
It's also so funny - I saw your post and loved the idea of the book you mentioned and I went online to look for it. The message that I got was that it isn't available to Canada. The amazing part was that I went to our local Christian bookstore (which is my favourite place!) and they not only had it but they had a big display and it was on sale! It's gorgeous and we started reading it tonight and my daughter and I both LOVE it!

Elise said...

I love it, Monica! Having a large family usually involves lots of noise and chaos. Generally our bedtimes are more of us being drill sergeants than loving parents, it seems. I'll have to see about implementing this idea. Also, I loved your next post about the beautiful everyday. I am prayerfully considering homeschooling again, as I don't think public school is doing us too many favors in the behavior department. That was neither here nor there, but I just love the way your days look captured. Hope you have a great rest of your week!

*carrie* said...

So glad it's working for you. Great idea!

angie said...

My daughter has been struggling to get to sleep. I believe that a gentle winding down time would be so helpful to her cause. Because of late evening commitments, it becomes difficult to do so. But I do think that 15 min. invested, even if it delays bedtime, will prevent an hour of restlessness after bedtime. We bought a family devotional at Christmas, and need to pick it up again.