Entertainment Rethink: Don’t Forget Fun!

laughinleaves

I ended my post on the lie of entertainment by claiming I am “much, much happier” now that I’ve cut mindless entertainment from my life. That happiness comes from doing meaningful work and making progress on what matters to me. It is a deep, contented happiness.

But when I turn on the music when I am alone in the house it’s like rain on parched land. Joy and energy well up inside me and I’m inspired by the beautiful sounds.

Moments like these show me that I’ve quite forgotten the positive side of entertainment.

I’m much happier now that I’ve broken the chains of mindless entertainment. Yet entertainment plays an important function in expanding our imaginations and creative lives. It’s part of having fun, which is an important part of enjoying family life and building relationships with the people we love most of all.

I need to work on this. In rejecting expensive and time-consuming activities like going to the movies and surfing YouTube, I’ve failed to replace it with home-grown leisure and bonding activities like playing a board game or wrestling with the kids.

I tell myself: “When I get all my work done then I can add more fun to my life.” But my work will never be done!

I’ve made room in my life for work and rest but there’s a missing component of fun that I need to get back.

A reader recently wrote: “I am just learning to have fun and joy. What better thing is there for my children than having a mom who loves life?”

How encouraging to know I’m not the only one!

“What better thing is there for my children than having a mom who loves life?” – Noëmi C.

I do love life, and I’m more peaceful than I used to be because being organized means I’m not stressed about urgent matters, but my mind is still too much on doing and to little on being.

While thinking of how to have more fun, I realized a simple step might be to respond to the fun my children are having. I didn’t have to wait long to test the theory.

After dinner my daughter jumped about as I tried to wipe her hands and mouth and I started to get annoyed. I changed my focus from efficiency to fun and held the cloth up high, challenging her to jump up to it.

She had a blast, it didn’t take all that long, and her hands got wiped without harsh words. Maybe it was even one of those shared special moments that means so much to kids and is quickly forgotten by adults.

Family bonding isn’t the only reason to encourage fun in our lives. To be productive and creative we not only need rest, but also fodder for new creativity.

Julia Cameron calls this “filling the well” and it’s a concept I’ll discuss further in the next post. For now, I’ll ask you this:

Are you good at having fun with your family? If so, how do you do it? If not, what do you think blocks you?

6 thoughts on “Entertainment Rethink: Don’t Forget Fun!”

  1. I am relatively good at “in the moment” fun- a song comes on and I dance with the kids. I see a tummy and I tickle it. I use our (huge amount of) walking time to tell made-up stories, usually ridiculous variations of common fairy tales, all starring my kids. I actually dislike doing this… I would much rather walk quietly, but the kids love it like nothing else, and each time I tell myself, “I want them to remember me as the mom that told The Four Little Piggies and the 567th Time They Outsmarted the Wolf” and not as the mean mommy that made them walk quietly. lol.

    My biggest block is this: The kids tend to quickly escalate any physical game to what I consider “too far” or out of control. Me spinning one kid as we dance… quickly turns into that kid flying through the house like a top and crashing into furniture and siblings, other kids climbing up my legs for their turn, someone getting pushed over and injured, etc. I cannot seem to find a solution to this!!! Same would be true for piggy back rides, tickling, wrestling, and any other acrobatics. Maybe we just don’t have the space??? I don’t know.

  2. Oh, you’re the kind of Mom I want to be! I’ve started trying to tell stories, but it doesn’t come naturally. I used to make up stories as a kid all the time, and dance around the house, and have . . . well, fun! I have this theory that dorm life killed it because there was no space to be silly and free without being observed. Then I forgot. I forgot about wrestling with the kids, too because I was pregnant and couldn’t and it didn’t come to mind again for far too long!

    Do you find being able to be spontaneously fun helps you yell at your kids less? Or to turn disasters into laughing matters? Any tips for a far-too-serious person are welcome!

    1. No, I still yell at the kids all the time. 🙂 The situation you described, someone not wanting her face wiped, is the sort of thing that causes me to loose my cool. I can only be fun and spontaneous when I choose the moment, which I suppose is a control issue that I have. If I *know* that face washing is an issue for a certain someone, then I might *plan* a way to make it more fun- turn it into peek-a-boo or whatever, but to come up with a plan in the moment doesn’t work for me.

      I hate being a control freak, but I am…

  3. I can’t help it. I’ve been reading so much George MacDonald lately, quotations keep popping out. Here’s one I found not 10 minutes ago that might fit here: “Even in the matter of work a man has to learn that he is not his own, but has a master, whom he must not serve as if he were a hard one.”

  4. Hey, I learned to have fun through my husband who is a very fun-loving, humorous person. I went through years of taking offence and struggling to just let go and taking myself less seriously. My husband often says, just humble yourself, just call yourself an idiot. That is a big call. But it is a process towards true inner freedom. And I guess it takes both; the willingness to call oneself ‘an idiot’ but also the assertiveness to clarify your “I”, which means knowing who you are, what your needs and wants, preferences and priorities, goals and ambitions are. For me that really works well: One side of my heart/mind remains humble and willing to let go – the other side stays aware of my emotions, my being, what makes me me and strives to preserve those boundaries. As a mother it is easy to become overwhelmed with daily life’s demands, to give a little too much, to try to run the whole show, etc and at the same time feeling resentful and bitter (mostly towards our husbands or/and children) about our unconditional giving, our often sacrificing and selflessness… But really: we have to grow up and take the responsibility that really makes us able to respond to the challenges of life (if you allow a little word-game:). Taking responsibility of our own feelings, thoughts and reactions. I cannot blame my children for making me feel annoyed, impatient or unsatisfied. They are just an image of ours, they just mirror our own behaviour – as tough as it may sound. And most importantly, they are being children, they’re not little grown-ups. We can’t even blame our husbands for our bitterness or anger (or whatever emotions we are dealing with). The only power we have is the power to look at ourselves and learning to do this is very powerful indeed. It takes both humility and love and appreciation for the self. I am not too proud to say sorry and look at myself but I am also not over-sensitive to clarify my emotions and where I’m at; what I need in order to be a fulfilled woman, mother and wife.
    We seem to spend so much energy on trying to do ‘something’ to our hubbies or kids (trying to change him or trying to teach them) that there is little capacity left to do something for us. In my case that would probably be something like contemplating on my worth, looking at myself as precious and irreplaceable, a growing and changing character being refined by hardship and challenges, but also being shaped by joyful life-experiences. That would be taking the time to sit down and read and write, playing piano and singing, going to a women’s group or long nature walks…

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