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As a young child, my mom taught me a few things on the piano like where Middle C is and what the difference is between the white and black keys. She taught me the basics of reading music and playing an instrument. In 5th grade, I started playing the recorder. I learned where to put my fingers to play different pitches and continued learning how to read music. That same year, I graduated from the recorder and advanced to the trumpet. Through middle school, I practiced at home and school on my Yamaha trumpet. Since then, I have ventured out with the guitar and harmonica. Please don’t get your hopes up though—I am really not that good at any of these instruments.

Yet there is one thing I learned that has stuck with me: rhythm. I still remember my mom’s real metronome . It’s not the kind most people use today that’s an app on their phone. Rather, her metronome is the wooden pyramid with one side that slides off and releases a metal rod. From there, you slide the weight up or down to adjust the speed and then it goes, “Tick tock, tick tock, tick tock” over and over again.

As we launch into a new school year, it is true that this one is set to be unlike any before: masks, virtual learning, homeschool, and quarantine. These words and more capture just some of the unprecedented nature of school this year. Even in the midst of abnormalities like these, parents would be wise to create consistent rhythms in their own lives and their children. Creating and sticking to an expected structure has been proven to be helpful for children. These structures could include bedtimes, mealtimes and diet options, personal hygiene choices, and more.

However, what about building spiritual rhythms into families? Wouldn’t it be wise for parents to establish patterns for children to know and expect in the home as it relates to growing in the grace and knowledge of the Lord just as they may expect things like when to go to bed and how often to brush their teeth? For example, consider the importance of children expecting to go to church on Sunday rather than waking up on Sunday wondering whether or not they’ll go this weekend. Or, think about the difference it would make if kids knew someone would always pray before a family meal.

One other rhythm I encourage you to implement into your family’s daily routine is gathering everyone together to read the Bible, sing, and pray. Taking a few minutes each day to read, sing, and pray will have a powerful effect on saturating not only our children’s lives with God’s Word but ours as parents as well. Singing together reminds our children that whether or not we are gifted musically, we can make a joyful noise to the Lord in our home and should allow that joyful noise to overflow on Sunday when we gather with our eternal family, the church. Regularly committing time to pray as a family not only shows obedience to God’s command to pray but also demonstrates our need for the Lord.

My prayer for the families in our church is that our homes will “tick tock” with regular, biblical rhythms, the least of which are reading God’s Word, singing, and praying with one another.