Ep. 1 - Establishing Routines of Blessing

Any parent of young children knows the mantra, “Routine! Routine! Routine!” Routines help our families thrive and grow. In this episode, Luke Stehr talks about establishing routines of blessing in your home with your children.
Show Transcription:

Hi and welcome to the Family Talk Pod! My name is Luke Stehr, and I’m Community Engagement Coordinator at First Baptist Arlington, but I am also, and probably more importantly, a dad to two very fun little girls ages five and two. I am by no means an expert in parenting, but I love Jesus and I love my daughters, and my wife and are trying to raise them to follow the Jesus way, and chances are, if you’re listening to this, you’re also trying to raise kids in your family to follow the Jesus way too. 

If your household is like mine, then you know that one of the things that is key to what feels like successful parenting is maintaining routine. We essentially teach all of what we’re trying to get through to our kids through routine. Whether you’re trying to teach your child how to sleep through the night, use a toilet, tie their shoes, or more complex behaviors, we do it through repetitive, habitual routines.  

This is no less true when we think about raising our kids in the Jesus way (coincidentally, habits are also how adults deepen their discipleship to Jesus too). 

Today, I’d like to talk with you about creating a habit of blessing in your house so that you can reinforce the message to your kids that God loves them and that you love them. 

In my house, one of the ways we do that is through a bedtime blessing, and I’m going to be upfront and just acknowledge that I stole this from a guy named Justin Whitmerl Earley, who has written some amazing stuff on Habits of the Household. 

Bedtime is a chaotic process in our house, despite our best efforts. We have two high-energy, creative, and very silly little girls. After we’ve done the bath, brushed teeth and hair, put on pajamas, gotten drinks of water, and read a book, we get our girls into their beds. Typically at this point, my wife and I are tired. We’re ready to move onto finishing up our evening chores, we’re worn out from work and taking care of our kids. It’s easy for frustration to run high. 

Once we’ve managed to wrestle them into their beds, I take a minute with each one of my daughters, and we do our best to follow this format of a blessing. 

“Can you see my eyes?” 
“Can you see that I can see your eyes?” 
“Do you know that whatever good things you do, I’ll always love you?” 
“Do you know that whatever bad things you do, I’ll always love you?” 
“Do you know who else loves you like that?” 
“God does.” 
“Go to sleep thinking about that love.” 
Sometimes this goes smoothly. Sometimes it doesn’t. Sometimes my girls are into it. Sometimes they’re not. Sometimes they try to cut me off, and sometimes they try to cover their heads with their covers. Sometimes they hold my face and stare deeply into my eyes. Sometimes they don’t follow the script. Regardless, I do it anyway. I love them even when they’re not in the mood to play along, and I want them to know that God’s love for them is unconditional, and my love for them should be unconditional too. So we do it even when it’s not perfect or when we’re not in the mood.  

And that’s all ok! 

The point of this blessing isn’t to execute a perfect performance. It’s to speak about the unconditional love of God with our kids on a regular basis. 

It’s my hope that this message will become a core piece of my daughters’ identity, and that they will know that they are people who are deeply seen, who are fully loved regardless of what they do, and that God loves them. By doing this every night, I hope it shapes their soul like waves on the beach smooth out rocks into polished stones. It’s a process that takes repetition and time. 

It’s also a good reminder for me, when I am frustrated with two little bodies who are overtired and antsy, that I love them no matter what they do. This shapes my soul and relationship with them as much as it shapes theirs.  
I’d like to invite you to think about creating a rhythm of blessing your kids in your home! Feel free to copy ours. I copied it from someone else.  

I also want to encourage you to utilize your Family Talk Box. As you go about the week, look for opportunities to have conversations as a family and use the tools on the cards within your box. Let us know how it’s going in your family! 
Ep. 1 - Establishing Routines of Blessing
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