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?