Previous Challenge Entry (Level 4 – Masters)
Topic: The Critique/Review (for writers) (05/06/10)
TITLE: Reality Check
By Rachel Phelps
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The secret to a happy family is simple and easily attainable: creating equilibrium in the house, anchored in Christ and equally attentive to the needs of each family member.
“Mommy, I need a drink.”
“Go ask Daddy, Sam, Mommy is busy writing right now.”
The little voice took on a whine. “But Daddy’s on the phone!”
“Not now, sweetie. Mommy has to write. She has a deadline.”
Within my own family it is difficult to imagine a day without family devotions or at least some quiet time with each child. With a family of three children, it can be difficult, but we know how important it is.
The phone rang. She grabbed it impatiently.
“Hey, Mom, I’m going to Shelly’s to study, and she wants to know if I can stay over. Can I?”
“It’s a school night, Kira…”
“We have that big test tomorrow, we have to study!”
Sigh. “Alright, hon. Just try to be home early tomorrow. I feel like we never see you.”
“Oh, and Kira, don’t forget that you have nursery duty this Sunday.”
“Seriously? C’mon, Mom, can’t you do it? You know I hate working the nursery!”
“You made the commitment.”
“We’re not going to argue about this. You agreed to do it, so I expect you to march into that nursery with a smile on Sunday.”
“Okay, see you tomorrow.”
Involving your whole family in church ministries is vital. Teaching children early on that they need to stay plugged into service can greatly reduce the drama that comes with teenage years. The focus on others and regular practice of responsibility and generosity makes the histrionics rare.
While juggling everyone’s busy schedules, it is helpful to remember to focus on your spouse. Every day should also include some special time with your husband or wife. It can be as simple as helping each other put dinner on the table or sitting on the porch to watch the sunrise in the morning – these moments should be intentional and visible. The children will appreciate seeing it.
“Sweetheart, I just got off the phone. How’s the article coming?”
“Great. I’ll let you read it when it’s done. Listen, can you feed the kids and get Sam and Ethan in the bath? I need to finish this.”
“I thought it was family dinner night.”
“Kira won’t be home either, so I guess we’ll just have to push it to tomorrow.”
“Too long to explain now. “
“You do know it’s been two weeks since our last family dinner, right?”
“Don’t be ridiculous, we had pizza together last Saturday.”
“In the living room with the TV on.” Sigh.
“Just feed the kids, please? I promise, I’ll work on dinner tomorrow.”
He left the room, making heavy footsteps on his way out.
Overall, the most important thing is keeping a consistent schedu -
A crash from downstairs. She jumped, then resolutely kept her eyes on the screen.
-le. Nothing will anchor your family better than a steady schedule. In my family, the schedule has some flexibility, but the overall structure is completely set. My children know what their days will be like and are secure in that knowledge.
“But, Daddy! I don’t want to take a bath!’
“Sorry, buddy, but Mom said.”
“Last night she let me choose when I wanted to take a bath – and I got to choose a shower!”
“Not tonight, Ethan. C’mon. Into the tub.”
“I don’t wanna!”
The exchange faded. She finished her article and printed it out as the house got quieter in preparation for bed. She dropped it off in her husband’s lap and made a beeline for the freezer and the ice cream inside. Chocolate sauce sounded good…
When she walked back into the living room, her husband was gone. The article lay on the chair. There were no marks, no notes in the margins, except for two words at the very bottom in bright red ink.
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