Children can bring out the absolute best and worst in us. Of course, by “us” I mean parents. But how often do we pause from the daily grind to consider what we bring out of them?
Children are sponges. They soak up everything they see and hear whether we like it or not. So…. what are we providing them in the way of character development, demeanor and attitude?
Arguably joy is lacking in adulthood. Why? Many reasons, but that isn’t the point. More importantly we struggle to share joy with our children and so fail to help them develop joy as a regular and good experience in life.
Stick with me on this.
The “Fruit of the Spirit” includes joy. This means that the lives of those living “The Life [of Christ]” should be full of joy. I don’t know about you, but this seems a bit like a “Sunday School” answer to the problem. Joy becomes difficult as a “Fruit” and discipline when it comes to living mundane, everyday life. There. I said it. It’s hard to live out joy. Ouch!
If I am not living out a joyful life, or at least trying, what am I developing in my children? Whatever it is, it’s not joy. Double ouch! I’m not sure about you, but I want my kids to know and experience joy, the true joy given by God, on a daily basis.
This requires intentionality [read: daily discipline]. I’m far from a perfect example, but I hope to become a better example of living a life of joy and developing joy in the lives of my children.
I’m starting by identifying and experiencing joy to the best I can on a daily basis and helping my kids do the same. I hope you will join me.
First Fruits: Here are a few ways we’ve seen and identified joy in our home since I started writing this blog post.
- My daughter and wife helped cheer a friend up when she was sad (helping a friend find joy) and found creative ways to encourage her
- My two sons found joy while playing on indoor playgrounds at Recreation Unlimited
- I found joy in coming home to my family, nightly bath time routine with the kids and reading a book to them before bedtime. I also find joy in “Mommy-Daddy dinner” on Monday nights and making time to just be present in my marriage.
I’m already being reminded that joy isn’t limited to the big events of life (weddings, births, promotions, etc). Joy is about perspective and making the most of every opportunity to be present in the life God has given you. This removes the limitations of needing a reason for joy and sets the expectation for daily joy in any capacity.