Saturday, January 31, 2009

Candlelight Questions

The Brontes had a mask, one that they could hide behind when telling the truth. The brainchild of a wise father. Sometimes it is hard to tell the truth in the harsh light of day. I've found in my own life some of the best conversations take place under cover of darkness. We're currently testing this theory out on the children.
Candlelight Questions
"Hurry. Brush your teeth. Get in your PJs and then it's time for Candlelight Questions." The children scurry out of day clothes and into night. They rush around the house flipping off lights but leave the oil lamps burning on the kitchen table. Someone brings a candle and sets it on the hearth in the living room. The lighter flares in the darkness and ignites the candle's wick. Everyone finds a space on the sofas or the floor.

"Are you ready for tonight's question? Who is someone you admire and why?"

"I admire JRR Tolkien. He basically spent his whole life with one set of characters."
"I admire you and Papa because you work hard to provide for us."
"I admire Aunt Dulce and Uncle Jim because they are so good at making people feel comfortable."
"I admire God because he gives us power to get candy." Much laughter and mini theology lesson ensues.

The candle flickers as children share their thoughts. It's cozy in our big living room with kids sleepy and stretched out. Everyone takes a quick turn then someone prays and all line up for hugs and kisses. One kiss for the big kids and four for Charlie and then off to bed. The kids take their cue from the hush and calm around the flame and settle quickly into their beds.

Just a few minutes at the end of the day to tie heart strings and share ideas, here in the dark by candlelight.

Other Questions:
How did you serve someone today?
What is something you learned today?
Who is your favorite character in.... and why?
What do you want to accomplish tomorrow?
Did you do anything today that you regret? What action can you take tomorrow to prevent it from happening again?
What is your favorite memory?
What has God been teaching you?


Mama JJ said...

Great idea---where did you get it? As you know, I love candles...


The Small Scribbler said...


I just thought of it a few weeks ago or maybe I just retrieved an idea that Sarah shared with me a few years ago. I'm not sure.


Sarah said...

We did Candlelight Stories when all the kids were sleeping in the same room. At bedtime, they would rush to get teeth brushed, pjs on, and in bed so I would tell them a silly story. I lit the oil lamp and told them stories I made up. They loved it and it made bedtime a cinch - except for coming up with original stories.

But I think you're right, there is something to having a conversation when it's dark, or when you're working. It takes some of the pressure off of conversing - if that's not your thing.


Kim said...

Hi Kate,

This is a lovely idea. I went to the Bronte parsonage years ago and it's amazing that such creative people emerged from such a place! The moors are truly beautiful but the parsonage, well, a bit depressing.

I like what the children said as well. Can't wait to do that stuff with M and Hen.


ValleyGirl said...

What an incredible way to end the day!! I love it! I must try this with my girls.

Xandra@Heart-of-Service said...

You and Stuart should write a book on interesting, imaginative, fun, edifying things to do with kids. Ya'll always have the best ideas!


Heather C said...

I love it! Sounds like a perfect addition to family worship time. :) I love their answers, too. Thoughtful children.

ocean mommy said...

I love this idea. So simple, yet it creates a safe environment for sharing dreams, hopes and maybe even regrets.

LOVE it. :)

Sara Carmichael said...

What a great idea. I love the idea of truth coming out under the cover of darkness. I definitely look forward to these conversations as the kids get older...

I love the Brontes, by the way. I especially like Anne Bronte. Two of my favorites of hers are Agnes Grey and The Tenant of Wildfell Hall (I think those are the only two she wrote). She wasn't as gloomy as the other two sisters. Sad that their lives were ended so abruptly. They were brilliant writers.

Mary@notbefore7 said...

What a great way to end the evening...might have to adapt it for our home in some fashion, at least on occasion.

jodi said...

Fantastic idea! Bedtime is my favorite with the kids tucked in, telling me their dreams and making up bedtime stories. Your questions are a great addition to that. Thanks for sharing!