By Christine V. Hides
For years my husband and I sang the “moon song” to our girls before bed. By the fourth year we parents were over it, yet they strongly protested when we tried to introduce a new song into the routine. Parents sense that bedtimes are a sacred ritual for children, a treasured opportunity to connect over stories, songs, and conversations about the day. Though parents may be anxious for our children to fall asleep, we stick to the routine because we understand its importance.
Developmentally speaking, rituals and routines help us to manage transitions (like falling asleep!) and add structure to our days and weeks. Spiritually speaking, routines and rituals help us to express our feelings and shape our understanding of the world.
Rituals are an important part of our church life too, helping us to connect our lives with God’s presence through familiar words and actions. Prayers, songs, and practices repeated over time seep into our hearts and minds. They often pop into our heads even late in life when we are in time of need or transition. At bedtimes and mealtime, at church and at home, may our rituals be a gift to our children now and always.