Oh, To Be A Fly on the Wall

Do you know a family who seems to have it all together? You know who I mean. The ones who are always on time for church (okay, usually early); most of the time their kids quietly sit in their seats (and ON their seats) through the whole church service; the children aren’t fighting; the parents seem peaceful, and their pew doesn’t look like a tornado went through it by the time the service is over. How is this even possible?

Let’s take a look at what goes on behind this family’s closed doors, and learn their big secret. [please note: this is not a family with a special-needs child]


If you were a fly on their wall, you would see…


This family has a pretty regular schedule. Get-up times, mealtimes, playtimes, chore times, and bedtimes are fairly consistent. Children do so much better with a routine! You would probably see the family have a “quiet time” every morning or afternoon where young children sit with Mom on the sofa and quietly play or read. This mom is training her children to sit quietly at church! And she is making it a pleasant experience. She probably started this when they were just a few months old. About the same time each evening, the children are lovingly tucked into bed. Children need a lot of sleep, and these parents know that they will be happier and healthier with a regular bedtime.

But as the fly, you would NOT see rigidity. This family is flexible for last minute changes! A routine has a calming effect on children and adults, so change is doable without much stress. You would NOT see this family doing everything at the last minute. Sometimes, yes. But as a rule, they plan out their days. The hurry-scurry lifestyle creates impatient parents, tense children, and a very stressful home. You would NOT see a lack of creativity either. This family puts into their routine plenty of time for adventures. A family that has a regular routine will be more relaxed and more self-disciplined – even at church!

If you were a fly on their wall, you would see…


Have you ever met someone whose personality could be characterized as stable or consistent? That’s the definition of even-keeled. Were you to be a fly on the wall in this house, you would see parents who try very hard to control their emotions, actions, and reactions. These are calm parents, even when they really want to react in an inappropriate way. These are also parents who will ask God and their family for forgiveness when they lose their control. The best part is the children will learn to be even-keeled just from the example of their parents.

But you would NOT see a boring, emotionless family! Just because this family is relatively calm, it doesn’t mean that they won’t turn the music up loud and shake a leg now and then. This family has friends over to play games or sing spiritual songs. They have fun being together. A family that is even-keeled will be in a pleasant mood most of the time – even at church!

If you were a fly on their wall, you would see…


These parents have a motto: reasonable expectations and reasonable rewards for a job well done (along with reasonable punishments if these expectations aren’t met). If you were that proverbial fly, you would see parents who…
-Expect their children to be nice.
-Expect their children to not destroy things.
-Expect their children to come to them when called.
-Expect their children to put their things away.
-Expect their children to have proper behavior suited to the occasion – running and screaming are wonderful when playing at the park, but not appreciated in a restaurant. Most importantly, these parents would expect their children to obey right away – you would NOT see these parents counting to three, or begging for obedience. But as the fly, you would NOT see these parents expecting their children to be “little adults.” They know that there are privileges and responsibilities that only come with age and
much training. They know that it is unreasonable to think young children can play for long periods of time unsupervised before they have been taught not to get into other peoples’ things. They know that it is unreasonable to think young children can prepare their own meals/snacks unless they have been taught very specifically what to do. They know that it is unreasonable to think young children can take care of their even younger siblings.These unreasonable expectations are not only stressful for the children, they can present real dangers, too. A family whose expectations are reasonable are both confident and well-behaved – even at church!

If you were a fly on their wall, you would see…


This family spends most of their time together! The parents know what their children are doing (almost always), and the children know they are part of a team. There is a lot of “us” and “we” in this house! As much as possible, they play together, work together, and eat together. But you would NOT see the parents “smothering” their children. There would be times for playing alone, sleepovers at Grandma’s house, and date nights for Dad & Mom. There would be times when the children make mistakes and have to fix them (but in this family, the parents usually know what’s going on because they have been watching or listening from a distance). A family that is together much of the time are happy to sit together and be nice to each other – even at church!


 Click here for photo source

If you were a fly on their wall, you would see…


You would definitely see an organized family. Maybe not in the way you’re imagining. Sure, their house is in fairly good shape (usually), but where they shine is in their priorities. God first. Family second. Then everything else. This family is striving to live for the Lord! The parents are sober-minded and they look “down the road” when making decisions. Big decisions and little decisions.

Questions are asked:
-“Is this activity, or this job, or this entertainment leading us
closer to God?”
-“Is this sport going to take us away from our number one
-“Is this congregation one where our family can develop
and grow our talents?”
-“Is this friend or relative a good or bad influence on our

You will see these parents discussing the direction their family is going. You will see a lot of prayer. You will see God’s Word being studied to gain wisdom in making plans for their family.

But you would NOT see perfection. Some Sunday mornings, you will find Mom (or Dad) ironing a shirt at the last minute. You may see a shoe-hunt now and then. You will probably see a sink full of dirty dishes and clean laundry that needs to be folded. A family that works to keep their priorities in check will be focused on what is most important – even at church!

Our excursion is finished – no more being a fly on their wall! Did you learn their big secret?

Here it is: the way they behave at church is the way they behave all the time! Sure, they have “those” days now and then, but as a rule they strive to live a self-controlled, disciplined life in the home. These traits just happen to spill over in other areas too… the grocery store, the restaurant, the nursing home, and yes – even church!

The next time you wonder HOW that seemingly perfect family does it, remember that what you see at church is just a small glimpse of their life. They don’t just have easy-to-raise children. They are not just putting on a show. This is the real deal. We can’t see behind their closed doors. However, families like this would probably love to share some of their secrets with you. Ask and learn. You may just be as surprised as that fly on the wall!


By Jennifer Jensen

Jennifer Jensen lives in beautiful Colorado where she makes a happy home for her husband and two teenaged daughters. She loves to encourage the church with kind words, hugs, and loving notes. One of her favorite verses is 1 Thessalonians 5:14 – “And we urge you, brothers, admonish the idle, encourage the fainthearted, help the weak, be patient with them all.”

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  • Michelle Bolen

    Thank you so much for this article. I am always wanting to be a “fly on the wall” in godly homes. It helps me so much to serve as a reminder, encourage, and learn new things. I feel like info like this has not been shared enough from older women in the church and sometimes younger women struggle to learn how to love their husbands and children and manage “it all.” Thanks again.

    • Jennifer Jensen

      Thank you for your kind words!

  • Kristina Odom

    Great article, Jennifer!!

    • Jennifer Jensen

      Thanks, Kristina! :)

  • Lacy Crowell

    Sweet sister, you are the perfect one to write this article! This so epitomizes you. Thank you for your amazing example, & for reminding me that I can do a little bit better every day. Love you so much!

    • Jennifer Jensen

      You’re so kind, Lacy! :)

  • http://www.theplantedtrees.com Chelli (@ThePlantedTrees)

    Fabulous, fabulous, fabulous!This is such a great article and something I need to read every day.
    Thank you so much for letting us all have a glimpse into how to do things the godly way.

    • Jennifer Jensen

      Thank you for always encouraging, Chelli! <3

  • Dena Ivie

    Thanks for sharing, Jennifer. Great thoughts. Appreciate you.

    • jennifer Jensen

      Thank you!

  • Cyndi Hughes

    Wonderful article! Thank you so much, Jennifer. May we look to those godly examples that God has placed in our lives & strive to be a good example for others.

    • Jennifer Jensen

      Thank you!

  • Laura Warnes

    Such a sweet article with so many wonderful reminders. I still have a long way to go. Thank you for these encouraging words, Jennifer!!

    • Jennifer Jensen

      Your encouragement means a lot to me, Laura – thank you!

  • SusieQ

    Thank you for those encouraging and very helpful words! Your thoughts are my thoughts. ? I always want to encourage young mamas that they can have a peaceful and well-behaved family, but it takes purpose and planning with lots of prayers. You phrased it so sweetly, Jennifer!

  • Jennifer Jensen

    Thank you for your encouragement!

  • Deborah Heck

    Hello my dear Jennifer! I am very behind on bible articles and starting the great “catch up” today. Thank you, thank you , thank you for your sweet, clear, kind biblical writing. This article is a WONDERFUL BLESSING and REMINDER to me and one that I will share with many others. I love it, and I love you!


    • Jennifer Jensen

      Thank you for the encouragement! <3

  • Nancy Goring

    Great article, Jennifer. Thank you so much for sharing your wisdom with us. We can all learn a lot from this! I appreciate your articles, sister!

    • Jennifer Jensen

      Thank you for your encouraging words!