For a couple of days I get to have three of my grandchildren with me. I always learn so much from them. :) The two youngest (11 & 12) have a routine, set up by their mother, that they follow every school night. Yesterday when older brother brought them home he and his sister (the 12 year old) had a snack and began homework while I took the younger brother to soccer practice. He had his snack in the car on the way, because you know children are just starving when school is over for the day. After soccer practice I fixed dinner and they had free time until 7:00. At 7 they get showers and put on pajamas, at 8:00 they have a snack and brush their teeth, at 8:30 they get in bed and read for 30 minutes, and at 9:00 it's lights out. Older brother is exempt from this routine because he has different needs - for instance, last night he had a band concert at 8:00 and didn't get back home till 10:00 when he needed to finish a paper he was writing.
Children need routines. They thrive on security and that's what routines do - they let them know exactly what to expect and when to expect it. Younger brother knows I always have Toaster Strudels for him because he loves them. Sister knows I always have Chocolate Pop Tarts for her because she eats one every morning of her life (except now when she gave them up for Lent - brave girl!). They know that dinner will be provided and that teeth must be brushed for good oral hygiene and that their mother wants them to become lifelong readers so for 30 minutes every day they get to read something for fun, not for school.
Adults aren't so different. We need routines too. The older we get the more we need them and the more we treasure them. My morning routine includes a Diet Dr. Pepper first thing. Yes, you heard it right - a DDP instead of my normal chai tea latte. I started Weight Watchers last week so I've traded in the lattes for something with 0 calories. I haven't given them up entirely - life's too short to give up something we really love - they've just become a special treat when I save my points for them. But that's a whole 'nother lesson. Today I'm talking about routines.
I even have a routine in the way I clean my house. I guess we all do - there's that question of dust first, then vacuum or vacuum first, then dust. Some people do all the dusting all over the house at one time and others clean one whole room at a time and then move to the next. Some of us are morning people and like to do our work when we first get up - that would be me. Others prefer to drink coffee, read the paper, watch the news, take a shower - work after all that's done. I like to clean house in my pajamas, then take my shower when I'm done. It doesn't matter what the routine is, it serves the purpose of grounding us. It lets us know that we're safe and we're "normal", doing normal things.
The routine that really makes my day go well is my morning devotions. Every day I read one chapter from the Old Testament, one from the New Testament, and make a few notes in my journal. At my age if I don't write it down I don't remember it. :) And then I get out a special calendar and I write the names of all those I'm sending up special prayers for. After a time on my knees I'm ready to begin and to face whatever the Lord sends my way. If I don't get that time in the mornings, like on mornings we are traveling at the crack of dawn, the day doesn't feel right.
When I was younger I wasn't so big on following a routine. I wanted spontaneity in my life, or thought I did. Oh my children had their bedtime routines, sure. Some stuff you can't survive without! But I wanted adventure, I wanted to meet new people and do new things and go new places. Now I like the tried and true - the things that have served me well in the past. I prefer going to places I've been before, staying in hotels I've experienced and know the bathrooms are clean, visiting quilt shops I've loved and restaurants that have stuff I enjoy. I don't want to never do something different - I still want to go to Israel and walk where Jesus walked even though I've never been farther than Mexico or Canada out of the U.S. But for everyday....I mostly want what I had yesterday.
What about you? Routine or adventure? Tried and true or new and different?