On the wall of our mudroom, where my nine kids run in and out of the house fifty times a day, are posted twenty-two family rules and reminders. These are the phrases the husband and I find ourselves saying over and over again in the course of the daily business of parenting.
What could you be doing to help our family?
If a toy causes unhappiness, it goes away.
Don’t look at me when you’re talking to him.
Is that a tool or a toy?
Sit in a seat that someone isn’t sitting in.
Don’t rush off to do a job I gave to someone else.
And, my personal favorite: Don’t take your pants off without a plan.
My kids know these family precepts. Though they’ve heard them again and again, having them actually posted on the wall has given us all a new perspective on them. I’ll find a couple of them standing there talking and laughing about them, or explaining them to visitors. Dare I say, “delighting” in them?
It gives me a glimpse of what God must experience when we pray the words of the today's psalmist, and really mean them. I don’t mean to imply that my kids always follow our family rules. They don’t. But my teenagers have been around here long enough to appreciate the order, peacefulness, and lack of random nudity that results when the rules are followed. And even my little kids are familiar enough with them to be able to reflect upon their usefulness.
And while I’m not sure I could wax quite as poetically as Psalm 119 about it, I am grateful for the order and peace that have come into my own life and soul by following God’s laws. In many cases, I had to begin with a skeptical, perhaps even resentful, leap of faith. But in the end, I find myself a lot like my kids in the mudroom, talking with friends about the rules, explaining them, slowly learning to love them.
Re-read the Psalm for today. Can you find delight in His laws, too?
Kendra Tierney is a forty-two year old mother of nine and wife of one living in and working on a big old fixer-upper house in Los Angeles. She's a homeschooler and a regular schooler and is reveling in the freedom of a newly licensed sixteen-year-old driver in the house. Her new book, The Catholic All Year Compendium: Liturgical Living for Real Life, is available here. You can find her first book, A Little Book About Confession, here, her blog here, and her word art here.