bed time

I have just returned from a nicely varied day. A wedding rehearsal this morning on an island not my own. An attempt at a ‘getting to know you meeting’ with someone who in the end did not have time. Then a long journey from Largs to Glagow, doubled by a slow burning VW van (circa 1967) blocking the road. A meeting in Glasgow (one of the enjoyable sort, where one actually feels one is doing what one is called to), then dinner with a friend.

On the way home, I knew I would miss the 9pm ferry, so stopped at Tescos, where there were hundreds of young children and infants looking pale and exhausted. When I commented to the woman on the till, she said, ‘Oh, it’s early yet. There’ll be children here till my shift finishes at 11.30.’

The self-righteous, dogmatic school teacher in me arose to lament the loss of bed time. I never had a bed time, mind, but there is a significant difference between being alowed to fall asleep randomly after an eveing at home, and being taken on chores at all hours.

So many children in perfectly ‘normal’ and ‘good’ homes suffer damage each day by the very routines we put them through — and by the constant low-level stress of trying to do more than is possible or wise. It is one of the things that nags at me and I wish we could better address as a church. But would anyone pause long enough to listen?

4 thoughts on “bed time”

  1. I had a bed time – as I recall it was woefully early and in the summer time caused especially intense angst. Surely by not having a bed time, one is deprived of one of the pleasures of rebellion known as reading under the covers with a flashlight?

  2. Now there’s an interesting thought. My rebellion reflex never really developed till ordinand training. Do you suppose it’s because I missed out on all of that bed-time related rebellion early on?

  3. or reading by the night light, in my case…

    Unfortunately, even the pleasure of that rebellion (along with the wearing of navy blue socks, strictly against my high school dress code) and a vow of obedience haven’t knocked out my rebellion reflex entirely – I just have to counteract it – so maybe you didn’t miss anything.

    On the other hand, would your housemother training not have served some of that purpose? (-: In that case, it was an enforced LATE bedtime, but surely that was similar in some ways.

  4. I think lack of bedtime is a part of a more general lack of routine that affects a lot of kids nowadays, probably due to both parents often working and therefore needing time with their kids after work. By the end of a day spent with children, a stay at home parent is ready for bedtime and a child-free evening – I know I was!

    My bedtime was also woefully early and I remember hanging out of my bedroom window wistfully watching the kids still ‘playing out’. However, at least I had time to do a lot of reading – and yes, often under the bedclothes by torchlight!

    My boys had an official bedtime, after which they were expected to remain in their rooms, but although one of them uually went to bed and to sleep, the night-owl stayed up playing with toys and was frequently discovered in a pile of lego, fast asleep, when we went in to say goodnight on the way to bed!

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