Book Review

Book Review Habits Of The Household

by Brandon Potvin

book on a light wood table

Do you wish you had more time to focus on discipling your children? Does it seem like the mundane responsibilities of caring for your family and trying to balance your work life keep you from fulfilling your role to lead your home toward godliness?

In Habits of the Household: Practicing the Story of God in Everyday Family Rhythms, Justin Whitmel Earley shows how those mundane habits can become the vehicle for the spiritual growth of your family.


Don’t let the title fool you; this book is not about life hacks or tricks to get your child to do what you want. Its focus is on discipleship. The author effectively argues discipleship is not merely a product of what we teach and say but is influenced more by what we practice and do. This is not a new concept. However, understanding that spiritual formation occurs in everyday responsibilities and designing those moments toward that goal may be a new idea.

The author encourages us to turn our normal patterns of life (such as waking, eating, bedtime, etc.) into liturgies––that is to use the normal cadences of life to turn our attention to God.

The author defines liturgy this way: “A liturgy, in the formal sense, is a pattern of worship we repeat over and over, hoping that the pattern draws us into worship and forms us in the image of the one we worship.”

This idea is reflected Psalm 115:4-8

He also points out that it is not just our children who need transformation. We also need to be discipled: “Our best parenting comes when we think less about being parents of children and more about being children of God.”


Although, the goal of being intentional in our daily habits is primarily inward transformation rather than behavioral change, that does not mean you won’t experience some practical benefits. Being intentional and establishing routine will help reduce chaos and can foster peace into the home. It may take a while to catch on but eventually your family will adjust to the new normal, in fact they will not only adjust but they will come to expect it.

For example, at mealtime the author’s family does something they call “rose and thorn”, where each family member (age appropriate) will share a high and low of the day. This gets everybody involved, prevents one person from dominating the conversation and teaches others to listen.

Each chapter concludes with charts that summarize the chapter, offer things to try, and provides suggested resources related to the topic.

The author’s perspective comes from a family with four young boys but the principles are broad enough to incorporate many family dynamics. Resources and suggestions are also provided for various ages.

This resource can also function as a reference. The chapters can stand alone and you may want to revisit them as your family situation evolves.


As indicated in the subtitle, “Practicing the Story of God in Everyday Family Rhythms,” this book seeks to show how our daily habits fit into the overall story of God.

In the chapter on marriage, he shows how the Bible begins with marriage in Genesis and concludes with marriage in Revelation. This demonstrates how marriage was an intentional and integral part of God’s plan from the beginning of creation. Marriage does much more than provide happiness for a couple or help preserve society; it is a reflection of God’s covenant love, it reveals what God is like and it anticipates our heavenly marriage.

The author effectively weaves our daily habits into God’s overall purpose, which helps give meaning to our seemingly insignificant moments.

Grace Focused

Although the book offers many suggestions for implementing these habits effectively, the intention is not to be a burden. In fact just the opposite––strategically incorporating these practices should be freeing. The very idea of making it a habit is that habits become what is normal and natural––they become part of what we do, not an added weight.

The main idea he wants us to understand is that as we look to Jesus we become like him and our children become like us.


This could be a great resource to help your family grow, not by adding another responsibility to your already full schedule, but by simply being intentional with the things you are already doing.

“I used to think I needed to get the day-to-day stuff done and out of the way to get to the real spiritual work of parenting—some special conversation where the magic would really happen. But now I see that the magic of God’s grace abounds in the places I need it most: in the normal routines.”

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