Today I was had a brief conversation with an acquaintance, and I asked her, “So, what are you doing fun this summer?” She looked rather perplexed and said, “Nothing. I can’t wait for school to start again.” When she saw my surprise, she explained, “Well, I work.” That small interchange left me pondering and resulted in an outpouring of joy and gratitude for the “fun” I get to enjoy everyday with my family!
Ahh. . . life is so good. I want to cherish every bit of it!
At my house, summer means swimming, biking, growing things and using them to cook yummy dishes, reading aloud, hiking, preserving summer’s harvest, sewing together, picking the flowers we grow to arrange for the table or to give to a neighbor, inventing new recipes . . . and more swimming! Summer means fun and family togetherness and things to look forward to!
I am a “worker bee”. I like to be productive. I want to see service, and work and accomplishment. It has taken a while for me to learn from my children how to relax and play. I still want the work done, but Emily taught me that setting a limit on work (45 minutes in the garden, for example) with some fun planned at the end helps kids not get discouraged. And 45 minutes of steady, happy cooperation day-by-day gets the garden tended much better in the long run.
We get up and get our chores done quickly so we can bike ride or swim or sew or whatever we are excited about. Is this an effort for a parent? Yes, it is a bit of trouble to get the kids on bikes or to get everybody suited up for swimming. Is it worth it? Yes, oh yes! The power of wholesome recreational activities is amazing! It builds friendship in the family. It enhances cooperation a hundred-fold. Kids are so willing to cooperate and plow through the work when they know swimming is waiting! It creates a sense of goodwill and joy. It makes you a more real and a more “I-want-to-be-like-you” person to your children.
We all have heard the adage that “the family who prays together, stays together”. And the family who prays and plays together builds unbeatable unity!
Friends are important—but our best friends are found within the family circle. A tone of playfulness, fun and laughter in the family makes a child want to belong. And belonging to something fun prevents the pull of the world from sucking our children away from the faith of their fathers, and into the vortex of the current culture of worldliness.
Mom, Dad . . . don’t miss out on the fun! Be there: get in the water, get on the bike, and have fun with your children. Childhood doesn’t last!