Monday, September 27, 2010

A Letter From Jane: Creating Everyday Fun In Your Family

Dear Friends,
 I'd like to talk to you about a wonderful aspect of family life.....Fun!  There is nothing more bonding than laughing together.   It is truly leaven in the loaf and I'm sorry to pin one more thing on you, but you, the mother, control so much of the "fun level" in your home.  I confess that I'm a pretty productive person.  I'm happiest when I'm getting things done and if left unchecked, I would move the family from one serious endeavor to the next.  Maybe that's why the Lord sent me a houseful of fun people---and funny too. 
 Fun often means that you have to stop what you're doing and enjoy the moment.  Here's a story.  Long, long ago, I was making bread and someone--I'm not sure who---invented the dough game.  Each person in the immediate area is given a plastic cup with a little ball of dough inside.  Everyone stands in a circle---as wide as the room accomodates and on the count of three, they toss their ball to the right.  So of course, each person has to toss and catch within a second.  The goal of course, is to successfully catch all the dough balls.  Once we get a good rhythm going, we try for 20 catches in a row, or we add variations--like throwing all the dough up and then catching whatever we can and...ok, usually dough fights ensue.  To this day, I can never make bread or rolls without someone starting up the dough game. 
 Fun doesn't have to cost anything.  I'm always amazed at the money people spend on fun---and often, the activities aren't that fun.  I've found that when we set out on a free adventure, and I'm in a good mood, something surprising and memorable usually happens.  Like Riverfront Park.  It's a beautiful park here in Spokane with walkways and waterfalls.  There's a carousel and a tram and other ways to spend money.  But we rarely do those things.  We feed the ducks, we look at the falls, we bring a snack.   And always, always some good, unexpected thing is waiting for us.  One time, the boys caught 32 crayfish.  I know, I know.  Yuck!  But they loved it and they even cooked some and ate them when they got home.  Another time, a little colony of marmots popped up in some rocks on a hillside.  We were the only ones around and when the marmots discovered that we had crackers, they became very friendly. 
As the mother, you help your children to realize and appreciate the wonder and the joy of simple fun.  You can exclaim, "This is amazing!"  "Can you believe our good luck?"  "What could be more fun than this?" 
When a family experiences these unexpected, unplanned pleasures together, their love and appreciation for eachother flourishes.  When you, as the mother, pause and identify the moment, a memory is cemented.
I love humor and I've noticed that many families seem to have a sense of humor all their own.  Where does that come from?  I'm not sure.  But I love that aspect of family life.  We can encourage and develop our children's sense of humor by laughing with them and pointing out the funny moments in life.   One day, my grandson Jack called to say that they had woken up to find a chicken in their back yard.  He laughed and laughed as he told me about it.  In another household, the tone may have been different.  The parents might have been annoyed or nervous about this chicken, but Jack's parents saw the humor in the situation so Jack did to.  What a gift we give our children when we encourage them to see humor in everyday life.  My daughter Kristen had a habit of humming a little soundtrack to things she saw as we drove along.  For example, if a dog was trotting down the road, she would hum a perfect accompaniment to his gait.  I loved that!  And I still hear those little tunes in my head. 
Set a goal to laugh with your children at least two or three times a day.  Help them see humor.  When things start gettig heavy and intense, stop everything and shock them with a game of your own invention.  You know that old proverb "A merry heart doeth good like a medicine; but a broken spirit drieth the bones."  I know that "dry bones" burned out feeling.   I sometimes have it in the car when we're heading off on an outing.  I've cleaned the house, made the food, dressed the kids, loaded everything up and I'm completely shot.  So I've sat there in the passenger seat and prayed for a merry heart because I've learned that I'm the determining factor. My husband is always a great sport and kids just want to have fun.  As usual, the Lord comes through and softens me up and all is right with the world.    And that's good medicine for all of us.
Have a fun week.
Love you,


  1. That came at just the right time! I'm going to go have fun with my daughters!

  2. Thanks for the reminder. My best days are when I am having fun with my children.

  3. Jane. Thank you. I want to be just like you.

  4. This whole blog is such a blessing to my life! A good friend of mine knows your daughter and posted a link to this site, and WOW. It may be a turning point in my life, a catalyst for positive change! It gets me excited about putting my all into mothering and NURTURING and LOVING my kids! Thank you thank you!
    I also have a question about this post. I so want to have a fun household like your describing, but it is so hard sometimes! When I think of a dough fight, I think yeah that sounds really fun and I would love to be that family, but what about the mess, the waste, the message to your kids that chaos and the like are welcome! Don't you open the floodgates for all sorts of things that you've now established a precedent for!? How do you also have limits and not have a completely chaotic, disastrous, no rules or limits household and be spontaneous or lighthearted or fun all the time! For example my kids are always being crazy and silly and sometimes I need them to get dressed or sit still for FHE or prayer, or they need to do homework or chores, we need to be going somewhere, etc. I guess I'm afraid to loosen up and have fun for fear that I will relinquish all control and I feel I don't have much already! Any thoughts?


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