Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Forgetting Fun?

God, please help CJ not try to be Joshua and I's parent. And help him not to be silly.”

God, help Joshua to be strong and courageous. And help him not to be silly.

We had a good laugh when Jordan read these prayers to us from the 2008 journal she found as she was sorting through her old notebooks. She was 10, Joshua was 11, and CJ was the trying-to-be-a-parent age of 13.

We talked about how our family used to practice the Sabbath back in those days. We focused on prayer, worship, listening to sermons online, reading God's Word together, and getting time alone to hear from Him. Those were all good things. But I think sometimes we were too serious.

At one point, our family even did an entertainment fast for one or two weeks. And all three kids look back on that now as a horrible experience. Our motivation was to help our kids put God first in their lives and to recognize that games and entertainment can become like idols. But maybe we were too strict.

And maybe we took the fun out of life.

So that during that season in our lives, Jordan was praying for her brothers not to be silly. (I wonder if they were praying the same thing for her?)

When I was a child, I talked like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. 
When I became a man, I put my childish ways behind me.” 
(1 Corinthians 13:11)

How can we find a good balance between helping our children grow into mature adults and having fun together as a family? So that we're not forgetting the fun in our desire to see our kids put their childish ways behind them.

We're facing the same parenting issue again, in this season of life, with our youngest two. Last week we had a difficult discussion with David, who is having struggles with behavior problems and relationships at school. As we tried to talk through what he might do to improve his situation, it seemed like everything coming out of his mouth was negative. From his pit of unhappiness, he told us that he thought his life was better when he was in the orphanage and that he would be happy if he could watch TV and play video games all day.

After the boys went to bed that night and Joshua and Jordan got home from their Bible study, Charly and I told them about our discouraging conversation. Joshua said, “I can understand where he's coming from. There's a lot of focus in our family on building character. But not a lot of focus on having fun. And that's what's important to him.”

Wise words from our now-adult son. Who knows how important it is to have fun.

God, help us not to take the fun out of life as we help our kids become adults.

A time for everything. Silliness included.

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