Routine Joy

"Praise the Lord!

Sing to the Lord a new song,
His praise in the assembly of the faithful."
(Psalm 149:1)

The school year often creates a period of routine for many families. Children often return to the routine of an earlier bedtime. Homework and early mornings become part of the routine. Parents return to the routine of carpooling children to and from school and an array of other activities. Psalm 149 reminds us that we are to sing a new song, even in the midst of routine. Although returning to routine may feel like "the same old thing," we are encouraged by the Psalmist to engage in the routine with an attitude of joy. It is not "the same thing, different day." Rather, it is "the same thing, let's celebrate a new way."

One of the picture perfect moments for parents is the first day of school — a new outfit, new backpack, new shoes, a new year filled with possibilities. As parents, we encourage our children to be excited about a new school year. After all, educational development is a key for success. Parents often establish a tradition of picture taking on the first day of school. If this is a child's first year at school, start a new tradition. Set apart a time to look at the first day of school pictures of your child from previous years. Talk about the changes from year to year:

  • "Look how much taller you are now."
  • "Do you remember? This picture shows your favorite backpack."
  • "Do you remember your teacher from last year?"

Have you started the same tradition for Sunday school? If not, start this year! It is important to place as much emphasis and excitement on spiritual growth as academic enrichment.

Remember that God calls us to be good stewards of our bodies, including our minds and our physical bodies. When parents review "first day" pictures with their children, it is an appropriate time to discuss the ways in which children's bodies have grown or changed in the past year. Likewise, parents can also ask their children to think of some of the greatest lessons that they have learned over the past year. For us to be good stewards in the world, we must first begin by being good stewards of ourselves. God calls us to be faithful followers.


Thank you, Lord, for first days of school. Help us to remember that every day is a first day. We give thanks for your love that allows us to start each day anew. We pray in Jesus' name. Amen.

Discussion Questions

  • Does the excitement of the first day remind us of the way we are to worship God? (When we praise God, we are to be excited.)
  • What are some of your other first-time experiences in the past year or in your lifetime?
  • Are there any other activities that will be first-time experiences for you this year? If so, what? Will you be excited to experience them for the first time? Why or why not?

Ruth M. Blum is an ordained United Methodist Deacon who serves as Associate Pastor of Children and Families at Dove of the Desert United Methodist Church in Glendale, Arizona.

Posted in 2005.

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