Kids know how to have fun. Adults? Well, sometimes we forget. I let my joy get kicked curb-side recently while traveling through Heathrow (this Chicago girl still can’t wrap her head around flights being grounded for a week by 2 inches of snow). By Sunday afternoon my son was yelling in frustration, “You never have fun! You never play with us!” Being a sane, mature and in-control adult I yelled back, “Do you think I really want to do the dishes, the laundry, the shoveling, the bills, etc, etc, etc.!” Yup, a fine moment in the annals of good parenting.
I was already at that uncomfortable, guilt-inducing can’t-wait-until-school-starts-again countdown when it hit me. Unlike adults, children do not deny themselves joy. They seek it out and revel in it. How cool is that?
But how often do we, as adults and parents, try to put a damper on their joy because it’s inconvenient for us or some other stupid excuse? Yes, we need to keep our kids safe while they have fun. Yes, boundaries are necessary for a number of reasons. Yes, sometimes we do have to drag them from the sledding hill because we have lost all feeling in our toes. But the other excuses? Are they really valid or are they just stuck-in-a-rut thinking?
So, the dishes waited because I cranked the music and my kids and I danced until the laughter drowned out the yelling. So, my yard looks like crap because it’s the go-to playing field for my neighborhood. So, sometimes we ride our bikes to the ice cream store for dinner or have pizza-and-movie night in the basement, crumbs, no vegetables and all. All the responsibilities of adulthood will still be there, but don’t deprive your kids or yourself.
Let JOY be what your kids remember most.