Here’s a little secret: Our home is often a mess.
I guess if you have kids, that might not be much of a surprise to you – but I’m learning not to care. It’s about goals.
It’s not that my goal in life is to be a pig – far from it. But as I mentioned a few weeks back, we took a long hard look at our family identity and one of the things that is clear to us is that we want out children to want to be at home.
We enjoy having our kids around, they’re fun. When they grow up, we want them to remember more than the disciplines that they’ve been taught – we want them to remember that home is safe and fun. That way we’ll be able to be a bigger influence on our grandchildren.
So, it’s more important that we’re having fun as a family than if our house is spotless.
Don’t get me wrong, we still clean – Teri and I couldn’t have fun in a dirty house. But when it comes down to playing a game with our kids or cleaning their rooms…play wins almost every time.
To the point, in order for kids to want to be at home, home needs to be fun.
Several years ago on my way to a conference I was reading Chazown a book about finding your purpose. As I was reading and praying about y purpose in life I “heard” something telling me to play more. I thought…sure, play, I like playing, but one’s purpose in life cannot be play.
That was the year that Kevin Carroll spoke at Catalyst. And my view of the world took on a new layer. Kevin spoke about how play most likely saved his life and how adults do not play enough. Since then, I play more…and I’m more attuned to the importance of play in our lives. There’s been tons of research that shows how play reduces stress levels, improves relational health, and helps the brain to grow.
If you truly want to make a difference in the life of a child, you need to lighten up. Kids want to be around happy people. Kids are wired to have fun – and so are we. (One part of the answer to the chief end of man is to enjoy God, right?)
Here’s some things that I’ve learned that helps my kids to enjoy being at home.
Laugh at yourself
Pride wants us to take ourselves far too seriously. If we show children that we can laugh at ourselves and be a little vulnerable, they learn that they can too – and simultaneously it builds their self-confidence.
I think I could be a professional conch potato…but I’d wind up in a bad mood often. The more active I am, the easier it is to have a good time. The medical community would be quick to affirm the benefits exercise has on the brain. But, when it comes to play, I’ve found Newton to be spot on – a body in motion tends to stay in motion. When I vegg’ on the couch, I don’t want to get up to play.
Let them pick
This can be hard. Kids want to play the same things over and over. They want to play simple games. They want to make up rules. Depending on how you’re wired any of these things can make you want to move on and find something more interesting to do with your time…more interesting, but not more valuable. The time you spend playing what they want to play will have far reaching rewards that I cannot even begin to enumerate.
Like I said, I love play. I want to have fun.
I could go on and on about the hows and whys…but instead let me ask:
Why are you still at the computer?
Go have some fun with a kid.