What is Your Family’s Normal?

In his book Habits of the Household Justin Whitmel Earley notes, “One of the most significant things about any household is what is considered to be normal.”

I would encourage you to set aside some time to reflect on three questions.

1. What is considered to be normal in our household?

How would you honestly answer this question? How would your spouse or your kids? Is it hurry? A TV always on in the background? Saying a prayer before meals? A messy house? A clean house? A steady stream of bickering? Laughter? Reading books? Daily exercise? Dessert every night? Bedtime prayers?

2. What do I want to be considered normal in our household?

When we started family worship times last year, it was a little awkward for me and for my wife. It felt weird to sing together in our living room. We both grew up in wonderful Christian families, but neither of our families had a routine family worship time. But do you know who it has never been awkward for? Our daughter Lydia. She doesn’t know any better—this is just what our family does. So take some time to dream. In a perfect world, what would you want to be considered normal in your household?

3. What small habits could we add that would help us move from the first picture to the second?

This is the hard part, and the fun part. Imagine that you are planning a backpacking trip around Europe. You can’t just step out your front door and go. It takes planning. Which cities will you stop in? Which sights do you want to see? Will you sleep in hotels or hostels or AirBnBs? Will you rent a car or take the train? The dream of backpacking around Europe is an achievable one, but only if you plan out the small steps in advance. That is what our habits are. They are the small steps that take us from where we are to where we want to be. So look at where you are, think about where you want to be, and ask yourself what small habits you can start incorporating into your family’s life to get there.

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