The Three Rules of Our Home (week eight)
We have three fundamental rules of our home. These have been established through real world experience and trial and error as a family.
Rule #1: Always Tell the Truth.
Honesty is the foundation of relationships and we try to establish this with our children. Any mistake or disobedience is fixable as long as we are honest about it.
Rule #2: Attitude is Everything.
There’s nothing worse than someone who may do the right thing, but for the wrong reasons. We try to get to the heart when interacting with each other and “standing up on the inside” is unacceptable for all of us.
Rule #3: We Always Brush Our Teeth.
I’m in charge of bedtime, so this one is mostly just a reminder for me.
I’m sharing this with you because I forgot them. I was sitting with Braddock, talking about the importance of a good attitude when cleaning his room, and I asked him “what’s the number one rule of our house”. He said “I d-won’t know” and looked to me to remind him. It took me a second…a whole second to remember. In that moment I realized I hadn’t recited these rules since our life took a turn 3 months ago. I hadn’t thought about them, talked about them with the kids, or planned what our fourth rule might be (this has been hotly debated between the four of us that can talk).
We can already see that this trial that we are all in affects each of our kids in unique ways. We’ve seen how Reegan (our oldest) is a worrier and a planner. She worries about our doctor trips, and whether we’re going to have time to do her school with her when we get back. She worries about what’s for lunch and if she’s going to get dessert. She got offended on Rachel’s behalf when Rachel returned from a particular doctor’s trip with a newly installed port in her shoulder. She was upset that the doctor’s had hurt her instead of made her better. We are finding we need to be careful with how we talk about illness around her and how Rachel expresses her own feelings about her symptoms because Reegan is an emotional sponge.
Braddock is a little simpler. He’s our big, lumbering boy who has primarily just become a little more snuggly lately. It breaks our heart to see how sad he is when we need to leave to a treatment and how much he doesn’t understand what’s happening. On the flip side, we’re learning that he does really well when he has work to do. Because of this, I’ve been including him in my normal honey-do list work and it’s become some of my favorite time of the week, workin’ with my buddy.
Waverly has been the hardest to understand how this has impacted her. She’s more clingy for sure. But she’s also becoming stubborn and hardened towards us at times. She has a way of locking her jaw and setting her mind to something that our other kids didn’t have at her age. It makes it more difficult when we aren’t around as much as we should be and half the time Rachel feels like she has the flu so she’s less able to engage with her than normal. Waverly is also funny, and sweet, and emotionally intuitive…so we know she will be OK in the long run.
We recognize from scripture that there is a hierarchy of priority to our lives:
God - Matthew 22:37-38 - And he said to him, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the great and first commandment.
Spouse - Ephesians 5:25 Husbands, love your wives, as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her.
Children - Proverbs 22:6 - Train up a child in the way he should go; even when he is old he will not depart from it.
Everything Else - 1 Timothy 3:5 - For if someone does not know how to manage his own household, how will he care for God's church?
We’ve been focused on the first two, and I know that “everything else” can wait, but the kids got stuck in the middle. We’ve been on auto-pilot in our relationships with them since this all started and we finally have enough mental clarity to recognize it.
So we are working to remedy this oversight. More dedicated time with the kids, more eye contact, and more reminders of our family rules. On Saturday, we took our first step towards this re-commitment and went as a family to get a bunny. OK, I lied, we got two bunnies. Carrots and Jenny. This gives us something to snuggle and bond over with Waverly, it gives Reegan something to plan about and focus her energy towards, and it gives Braddock work to do each day and projects for him and I to do together like building a cage, etc.
Carrots and Jenny join our little farm of Pogo, Penguin, and Pheff (ducks), five un-named chickens, Sugar and Kia (horses), Pineapples the cat, and Delilah our dog.