I’m not guaranteed one day more so I have to be
intentional about today, right now, this very moment. And
in this very moment… they’re preparing for bed. The sun’s
gone down, the farm is quiet… Well not really quiet but a
different kind of noise has fallen over our small mountain.
The lights in the house have been dimmed to a low level,
everyone has showered, typically they’ve had a small snack
and are just hanging out in our room. After several
minutes of loitering around our room and listening to Coleen
and I talk about our day, I pray and send them off to
their rooms where they can read or do something
quietly for a few moments. After that, its lights off…
In our home we have two large bedrooms for the kids,
one for the girls which we call the “girls suite” and one for the
boys which we call the “bunk room”. The bunk room
originally had 2 sets of bunks for a total of 4 beds.
However, after our adoption we had to add a few morebeds
so we added a 3rd level to the bunks, providing 6 beds for our five boys.
We’ve gained a bit of space in the girls suite marrying off
our two oldest but anytime they return home they love tohang out
in the girls suite and catch up with all their best friends (their sisters).
Why do we do it? Why do I want my boys to share a bunk
room or my girls to share a suite? Well in the words of
John Wayne, “because all the gold in the United States
Treasury and all the harp music in heaven can’t equal what
happens between [siblings] with all that growing together,
I can’t explain it any better than that!” -John Wayne in McClintock
Just sticking your kids in a room together does not mean they will grow to love each other… It requires proactive intentional parenting… you are the shepherd of their hearts. Yes, there are arguments, fights, and disagreements but we help them work through those things by thinking of others greater than themselves. We are active in listening, watching and engaging them in their rooms. Making their rooms fun, creative, and encouraging them to live and work well together. It is a lot of work but it is so rewarding when your siblings become each others best friends.
Be intentional about bedtime. Around the farm we all work hard and enjoy winding down in the evening. It’s important to allow our minds and bodies to re-energize with proper rest. The first thing we do is to lower the lights with the setting of the sun (there is a lot of science behind this) We have found by dimming the lights it calms our children, and naturally makes them sleepy (you’re suppose to get sleepy when it’s dark). We don’t allow TV, laptops, video games, or any electronic devices after dark. We are not only intentional about what enters our eyes but the conversations that happen around the home. We talk to each other and we practice at supper if we need to. Fun Fact: Did you know commercial chicken houses turn the lights on when it gets dark to keep egg production high. (Don’t be a chicken house!)
Allow your kids to be apart of your room and set the example… Our kids love to hang out in our room before bed and listen to Coleen and I talk about how crazy the day was, listen to me read outloud to Coleen, or just listen to each other talk. There is usually always something funny. We keep our room light very low, there are a couple of chairs for them to sit in at the end of our bed or some just lay across the bottom of our bed or sit on the floor around the room. It has become an evening tradition and we love it!