So now that you are convinced that “delighting in the dailies” will help you accomplish your goals, how do you get them started (and keep them going) during the initial stages—when there isn’t a lot of fruit to show for your efforts, and you are convinced some day that you should just forget making dinner and go play solitaire or buy some sort of farm equipment (on the computer…lol)?
Here are some tips for learning to truly “delight in the dailies” and make those dailies a long-term reality in your home:
1. Start out with a few of the very most important dailies—and make these things happen every day for a couple of weeks. (See “Delighting in the Dailies—Part I of II” here.)
Don’t make a huge dailies list and wake up on Monday morning assuming that the magic list will all happen on that day. At times, my “dailies” (not including the children’s daily chores) could be thirty tasks long. If you are not used to doing certain things every day, this can be very overwhelming.
There are two ways to start tackling your dailies (which will eventually lead to your delighting in them):
a. Start with the four or five most important dailies for yourself and one or two per child and tackle these. Attach them to something that you already do every day (get up in the morning, eat breakfast, eat lunch, etc.). And start carrying them out over and over again. Once this is going well, add more. See my post about making a change a week or a change a month here.
b. Start with the first thing in the morning—and do your morning dailies only (for everyone in the family). (You might do others, but focus on making sure the morning ones are done consistently.) I often give the advice that when you want to change the way your days are going, start with the first hour of the day. Get this hour looking exactly like you want it to look (constantly!). Then move on to the next hour, etc. I personally like this approach because I love to make my day great by getting my morning started right.
2. Find someone who “delights in her dailies” and get a vision for this way of life from her.
Believe it or not, I actually knew several moms (either in person or through seminars/conventions) who were “delighting in their dailies” as many as thirty years ago! And this prompted me to make this a way of life. I could see the fruit of their daily disciplines, and I wanted that in my home as well. A well-run home is a beautiful thing, and we older moms need to teach and help younger moms learn these vital skills.
3. Believe in the daily approach to life.
Additionally, as an incremental type of teacher, I knew that “precept upon precept” and “line upon line” was the way that my children would master their subjects—and that incremental learning comes through dailies. I also knew from past experience that skipping things that needed done all the time in favor of things that either didn’t HAVE to be done or things that needed done less frequently didn’t work.
I had to believe in this approach in order to really carry it out. If you are waning in your ability to carry this out, make a list of all of the benefits to doing the dailies on your list (i.e. new reader will blossom through daily reading aloud to Mom, no more five o’clock scrambles for dinner, etc.). Pull this list out to help you “believe” when your faith is weak (and, once again, Farmville is calling!).
4. Notice the fruit (the real fruit!).
After a very short while, you will notice that something (or more than one thing) you have developed as a daily in your life is REALLY benefiting your family. Note this! If your struggling mathematician suddenly knows his x8’s because math drill became a daily for him, you have some juicy fruit! If your husband happily puts on his clean dress shirts in the morning (instead of the former morning clothing scramble!), then you have fruit. If you don’t dread four o’clock any more but actually sit down and read online articles for a while until sweet angels wake up from their naps, you have an entire fruit bowl! Notice it. Enjoy it. And realize that this fruit is there because you learned to delight in your dailies.
5. Believe that these dailies are truly the most important parts of your ministry to your family right now.
Anybody can swoop in and be a hero once or do something big here and there—and those have the potential to be ministries to your family too. However, when we understand and truly believe that what we do when we get up first thing in the morning is truly a ministry to our family, we will look at our dalies differently.
I know there are entire books written about the ministry of magic of motherhood. And they are right. But we have to do more than believe it in theory. We have to have it deep within us that when we consistently cook with our ten year old every day for lunch, we are doing God’s work. We have to breathe it in, take it in, and know it at that moment. When we lie down at the end of the day, we have to feel, believe, and KNOW that we have fulfilled an amazing calling on our life that day—because we did our dailies, God’s task list for us at this time in our lives.
6. Realize that you have accomplished a great thing.
Have you ever heard about the research for mastery in life? Some studies show that it takes repeating an action ten thousand times to become accomplished in it. Just look at each time that you do something (plan the next meal, do a reading lesson with a child, reach out to your preteen’s heart) as a step towards mastery. It really works. You will become so good at the things that you do over and over and over again!
It is rare to find a “work-at-home” mom who can juggle really well. How many times have you personally heard someone say that she could never do what you are doing—that she couldn’t spend all day with her kids or that she wouldn’t have the motivation that you have or that she can’t get organized without the structure of employment? What we are trying to do here—manage a home well, educate our children, and spend all day every day with kids—is not easy to do. If you continue to improve yourself as a home manager and a homeschooler, year after year, you will get more and more accomplished—and you will soon realize that you have done something very rare and very great.
7. But don’t get smug! 🙂
After delighting in your dailies for a while, and continuing to add more and more important dailies into your life, you will be amazed at the skills you have. Bask in that. It is such a great feeling to delight in your dailies. Such an awesome peace that comes with knowing that you are doing—day in and day out—what you are supposed to be doing. Actually, this feeling alone is enough to keep you going. (While I don’t advocate in living on feelings, there is a calm and peace that comes with doing what you are supposed to be doing—and THAT is a great feeling!) So enjoy it…but don’t be smug! Soon there will be someone else who wants you to help her learn to “delight in her dailies”—and you will be just the gal to do it!