A daily routine with our high school girls

At some point during break, I found myself sitting on my couch thinking,

“It’s quiet around here. [Eyes shift about suspiciously].  Too quiet. [Pause.]  What are the kids up to?”

I’ve come to appreciate the rhythms of the daily routines with the kids, so although I enjoy my time off, I still look forward to starting up again after break.  It feels good to be back in the happy chaos of the high school homes as we all get settled back in.

We had so much fun singing, baking and laughing!
We had so much fun singing, baking and laughing!

We left off last year baking cookies and making ornaments with girls from the younger homes.  This involved Christmas carols, flour and frosting on the floor, and twiddly bits of glitter and goo gobs in the rug.  These are hallmarks of a really good day: singing and a medium-sized mess.

This was a departure from our usual after school routine, which is a jumble of snacks, charges, appointments and updates on the new topics at Chamberlain High School.

“I got all my assignments in!”  (Yeah! Good job!)

“What’s for dinner?  Can I go to McDonald’s?” (Chili, and no you may not.)

“Can I go to Central [Receiving]?  I need some black pants for work!”  (Yes, and sign yourself out.)

“I need to go to early school tomorrow to do my speech.” (Please e-mail Miles for a ride at 7:30.)

“I need $2 for class dues and 3 dozen cupcakes for tomorrow.”  (What  huh?)

All of this is accompanied by the pop/hip hop soundtrack of someone’s laptop playing full blast and the constant clicking of cell phone keys texting.

Morning routines are not quite so lively. They are more like a cheesy suspense novel. Everything starts off predictably slow, with sleepy-eyed prayers and bits of toast.  Then comes the rising action—the clock is ticking and our heroine is in a race against time to complete her mission before the bus arrives.  Will she get her charge done?  Will that bathroom sink pass inspection or will she have to go for a do-over?  The bus is out front with the lights flashing, as we bite our nails (and tongues, because nagging is just NOT going to save the day).  Will she find that Math book?   WILL HER HAIR LOOK OK??  Tune in and find out.

Singing and a medium sized mess!
Singing and a medium sized mess!

The best part of the day is still the short window of time between curfew and bedtime. Theoretically, we are winding down for the day.  We’ll have snacks and Sleepy Tea.  Prayers are one part of the day when we can usually have all the girls together for a few quiet cell-phone free minutes.  The girls usually have friends and family members that they want to pray for.  Sometimes they pray for better grades or snow days.  We have lists of intentions from benefactors that get added in as well.  It may sound a bit corny, but I really enjoy prayer time.  It’s a privilege to be able to talk about spirituality openly with the kids, and it makes for a positive end to our day.  Well, sort of.   Once bedtime actually arrives, we are back into chaos with everyone remembering “one last thing” that has to be done right now.  The next five minutes will be like herding frogs.

I find myself smiling when I remember these things.  I can’t wait to get caught up on all the news with the girls.  Best of all, today is present-wrapping day for the high school program.  This involves Christmas carols, pizza, tons of wrapping paper and tape. In other words: singing and a medium size mess.  We’re off to a great start!

Until next time,


Author: St. Joseph's Indian School

At St. Joseph's Indian School, our privately-funded programs for Lakota (Sioux) children in need have evolved over 90 years of family partnership, experience and education. Because of generous friends who share tax-deductible donations, Native American youth receive a safe, stable home life; individual counseling and guidance; carefully planned curriculum based on Lakota culture and individual student needs and tools to help build confidence, boost self-esteem and improve cultural awareness. All of this helps children to live a bright, productive, possibility-filled future.

4 thoughts on “A daily routine with our high school girls”

  1. Claire: great article! Reminds me of everything I miss at St.Joes! Hope everyone is doing well. Michigan? Well…its the same old Michigan. But, it sure feels good to be home! Tell everyone the girls and I say hello!!

    1. Hi Christine!
      It’s good to hear from you! Yep, we sure had some good times at St. Joe’s. I’m sure the boys’ homes have similar stories. Thanks for posting!

  2. Claire, what a delightful blog! I loved spending a brief time with you and the girls — It realy felt like I was there. Thanks so much and thanks too for a job well done!

    1. Dear Jean,
      I am glad you enjoyed your visit to the girls’ homes… Never a dull moment! Thanks for your kind words and support.

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