“Mom, I wish you were a kid. Because then you could play with me,” my four-year-old chirped. She sat at the kitchen table coloring dinosaur pictures with crayons while I mixed muffin batter across the room. I looked up from my bowl and raised my eyebrows.
“What do you mean? I can still play with you even though I’m your mom.”
“Nope, you can’t.” She shrugged. “You’re a grown-up. Too bad.”
Hmm. I set my spatula on the counter and considered this revelation. Is Mom really so boring in her eyes? Think about it. We grown-ups cook dinner, wash dishes, pay taxes and sit still through half-hour sermons. Compared to dinosaurs and hula hoops and playground swings, I suppose we are kind of dull.
Parents must shoulder adult responsibilities and yes, those are important. But who says they have to define our children’s view of us?
When my kids were babies, a wise mentor gave me this advice: Be the fun family. Play together. Laugh together. Be the parents who willingly venture into a child’s world, and create a home where your kids want to be—so as they grow, they won’t go seeking their kicks elsewhere.
F—Establish an environment of Forgiveness. Nobody has fun walking on eggshells. Make your home a place of grace where kids are free to make mistakes and express their true selves. If our children know they are accepted and loved no matter what, they’ll be more eager to hang out with us.
Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you (Ephesians 4:32).
U—Do the Unexpected. Nothing says “fun” like spontaneity. Step outside the usual routine every once in a while and infuse some excitement into an otherwise ordinary day. Surprise the kids with an ice cream run after bath time. Camp overnight in the living room. Escape to a water park unannounced. Eat dessert first. Unexpected fun builds a legacy of happy memories.
Therefore, as we have opportunity, let us do good to all people, especially to those who belong to the family of believers (Galatians 6:10).
N—Nurture your child’s interests, not just your own. I’m an introvert. At any given hour, my idea of a good time is curling up in the La-Z-Boy to read a book or process my own thoughts. My children, however, have this crazy affection for sledding. And frisbee. And whacking each other in the head with pillows until someone either hyperventilates from laughing too hard or cracks a collarbone. It’s not always natural for me to join the madness. But I do it. Why?
Because nurturing my children involves embracing who God created them to be—pillow fights and all.
Each of you should look not only to your own interests, but also to the interests of others (Philippians 2:4).
As our kids grow older, they will seek fun wherever they can find it—at school, the mall, or a friend’s dank basement filled with greasy chips and a Ouija board. I’m starting now, making home my children’s primary source of amusement. Let this place, under my influence and supervision, be the hot spot where everybody else with boring parents wants to be. Then one day when my kids fly the nest, I pray they’ll possess a foundational definition of FUN and pass it to their own children.
What about you? Are you a FUN family? It’s never too late to start. Say it with me now—ice cream run!
Becky Kopitzke is a freelance writer, speaker, singer, dreamer, lunch packer, snowman builder and recovering perfectionist. She lives with her handsome husband and their two young daughters in northeast Wisconsin, where a pink indoor trampoline fills half the once formal living room.
Becky believes parenting is one of God’s greatest tools for building our faith, character, and strength—and it’s not always pretty. On her blog, Time Out: Devotions for Moms, she offers weekly encouragement for fellow imperfect moms, pointing our weaknesses, blessings, and victories to God. Connect with Becky on Facebook and Pinterest!