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One of the 5 key principles of the Orange strategy for parents is to create a rhythm.  Kids, and adults, need a certain level of stability and trust in their lives.  In the home, this is demonstrated through family dinners, regular family devotions, family game nights, or even just by making sure everyone watching the same show together.  When you create a rhythm, kids know what to expect and that gives them a sense of security.  Even when they may complain about it, the truth is that they secretly, and possibly subconsciously, crave that rhythm in their life.

But then there is something to be said for spontaneity.  While I cherish the rhythmic moments of my upbringing and my marriage and look forward to those moments with my children, some of my greatest memories are the spontaneous moments.  I can think of the few times early in our marriage that my wife and I stayed in a hotel room for no real reason other than just to do it.  I remember the times we would go out for french fries at midnight because they sounded good, even if I did have to work the next morning.  I love those times when we watch a movie even though it may be late or we are busy, but we stop and unexpectedly make time for each other.  I’m not one of those people who remembers my childhood really well, but I do remember some of those spontaneous moments when we did something because it sounded fun.

Let me be clear, I wholeheartedly believe in the need for those moments that create a rhythm in a child’s life.  I know the value of sitting around the dinner table to eat supper and of a nightly ritual, which is an area that my wife and I are still working to create that rhythm.  But I also believe that some of your greatest moments as a parent will come in those moments of spontaneity.  Don’t be afraid to take advantage of unique situations, like a blizzard or a power outage or when the furnace goes out, and create memorable moments from them.  Also, some days just do something because it sounds fun.  Remember what it was like to be a child and create those experiences in a healthy environment for your children.  Have everyone eat dessert first or ice cream for breakfast or randomly keep your kids home from a day of school or camp out in the living room or whatever you can think of!  Be creative.

I challenge you to do something unexpected this week with your kids or spouse.  Do something that just sounds fun (and sitting on the couch does not qualify).  Leave your idea in the comment section.  The second part of the challenge is to identify one area that you need to create a rhythm but you are not doing it.  Start today.