He pressed his head against mine on the pillow smelling faintly of chlorine and sunscreen, despite his evening bath.
Pregnant pause. I knew this question would be an important one.
“How come we don’t do Morning Time anymore?”
I started for a moment, slightly taken aback by the question and the way the six-year-mind works.
“Honey, it’s summer. We don’t do school in the summer,” I explained.
“But Mom, Morning Time is not school.”
That was the moment I realized the impact of the simple practice we do each day called Morning Time. So often I categorize those moments as just another part of the school day. And yes, if I am not careful, the time can slide into just another thing to be checked off a list before moving on to the next.
He obviously sees this time differently.
For a child of six who has been experiencing Morning Time for more than half of his life, it is an important part of his day — one with meaning, and is missed when absent.
That’s the thing about Morning Time and the impact it can have on our kids. It is easy after a little while to begin seeing the fruits of your Morning Time labors. In fact, here are a few moms who have seen those fruits and are sharing them with us.
Morning Time Mom #1: Amanda Venema
Kids: Three, ranging in age from 5-10
How long at Morning Time: Two years
Favorite Morning Time subject: I love beginning my day in prayer and praise with the kids. If there is one thing that I struggle to be disciplined in during our school days, it is actually starting! But with this rich Morning Time awaiting us, which begins with a hymn, scripture, and prayer, I am (slightly) more motivated to get moving in the morning.
The fruit of Amanda’s Morning Time: The transformation in their souls (and mine!)–there are just not enough words to describe it. We became partners in learning by beginning the first hour and a half each day attuning our souls to the True, Good, and Beautiful. In the process, we became more aware of Him and His creative design in our daily occurrences—even in mathematics, grammar, writing, and so on. Our souls were becoming recalibrated.
Morning Time Mom #2: Cassandra Dorman
Kids: 3 children, two boys and a girl, ranging in age from 8 to 11.
How long at Morning Time: Well, that’s a tough one. We’ve been doing ‘official’ (meaning actually calling it Morning Time and intentionally planning it) for about a year. Before this, however, we often read scriptures, devotionals, and various other inspirational and living books together in the mornings with some yummy treats and warm drinks. I am, however, very much enjoying being more intentional about our Morning Time routine. It has been a HUGE blessing.
Favorite Morning Time subject: It’s really hard to choose ONE favorite, but if I have to… I’ll choose Scripture and Poetry Memorization. (Haha… I still picked two, didn’t I?) This year, we switched it up from memorizing just one or two verses of scripture and instead, we are memorizing entire chapters of God’s word! It has only been a couple weeks and our kids have almost memorized the 23rd Psalm entirely. It’s so beautiful to see, and I know that hiding God’s powerful Word in their hearts will stay with them their whole lives – and beyond! I also really love memorizing poems together because it is so much fun and so inspiring to see how easily we can put entire poems into our minds and hearts. It truly is a bonding experience to memorize something together and feel the triumph of success when you actually get it!
The Fruit of Cassandra’s Morning Time: I think the fruit of Morning Time is seen largely in the peaceful atmosphere of our home. Honestly, this love for beauty, this time together of singing hymns, praying, reading and memorizing scripture, studying the arts, sharing inspiring stories – I wouldn’t trade it for anything! I can see the fruit in the hearts and minds of our children (and myself) which is reflected in our everyday ordinary ‘stuff.’ None of us are anywhere near perfect – nope, majorly in progress. But that’s the idea of this life, isn’t it? We are all hand-made works of ‘art in progress’ and the things we do in our Morning Time routine add beautiful layers of texture and color to the canvas of who we are and who we hope to become. Seeking after truth, goodness, and beauty is time well-invested, and I’ve certainly seen the proof of that in our home. God is faithful!
Morning Time Mom #3 Kathy Weitz
Kids: Six kids; 29 down to 16, plus three grandchildren. 😀
How long at Morning Time: 22 years
Favorite Morning Time subject: Hands down – reading aloud.
The fruit of Kathy’s Morning Time: Morning Time is the number one best thing we did in our home each day. Hours and hours spent reading aloud aimed all of us (Mom included!) toward a life well-read. It was a daily feast of good, and true, and beautiful stories, thoughts, and ideas – the soul-building stuff. Our daily feast bore the fruit of a shared culture, as quotes and characters become part of our family lingo, remembered and shared into adulthood; some of these now starting to trickle down to the next generation. Reading aloud bore the fruit of comprehension well beyond my young children’s reading abilities. Fine literature and poetry bore the fruit of beautiful language patterns that naturally flowed from lip and pen. Memorizing Latin chants and phonics rules and timelines and catechisms together pruned countless hours of “seatwork.” Younger kids reaped the fruit of effortless introductions to subjects they would study later, and older kids reaped painless review. Because we all prized the time together so highly, Morning Time was the thing that always got done, even on those days when nothing else did. And if it was all that got done, it was enough.
Morning Time Mom #4 Emma Sibley
Kids: Three kids ages 18, 14 and 8.
How long at Morning Time: About 12 years. Although it hasn’t always been called Morning Time or done in the morning! We’ve had ‘basket time’ and ‘sofa time’ as well! It also wasn’t something we did consistently until maybe about 4 years ago.
Favorite Morning Time subject: At the moment, poetry. I never seem to find time for it otherwise.
The fruit of Emma’s Morning Time: The connection it’s given us as a family, despite the children’s age gaps. In the beginning it was a time when we all came together. Everyone got something out of it. We studied Dickens 4 years ago as part of our ‘basket time’ and even my youngest daughter, who was 4 at the time, remembers the stories and feelings that were invoked. It connects us in a different way now. My older children no longer take part, and it’s just myself and my youngest. But because we are studying all the things they did, they will often come into the room and say ‘I remember that’ or ‘I loved that story.’ They can still talk about it together and connect over it.
The fact is, once you begin the Morning Time habit, no one in your family will want to stop the practice. The fruits are just too bountiful to let the harvesting pass.
Next week I will be outlining a super-easy way to plan an effective Morning Time. Be sure to subscribe so you don’t miss how it’s done.
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