“Pleeeeease, Mum!” she says.
“Please come jump on the trampoline.”
I sigh. It’s the third day running that she’s asked, and each time so far I’ve had a legitimate excuse. I’m cooking dinner, darling. It’s getting dark. We have to go do the groceries, hun.
Today, I have no excuse.
“C’mon mum, you said you would,” older brother pipes in. Blue puddle eyes pierce me to my very core. I smile. And they hoot, because they know I’ve given in.
So we jump around like crazies for the next 20 minutes. I double-bounce them in turns, sending them literally flying into the safety netting… hopefully it’s still safe. I wave at the neighbour mid-air. He grins. And we laugh and squeal and romp like little kids. Which they are and, as my thirty-six-year-old bones (and pelvic floor) remind me, I am not.
I actually kinda love it that they enjoy me jumping (and jiggling) with them. And I’m grateful to have the health to be able to do so – when I get over my inhibitions. In fact, they love any activity that breaks our adult seriousness. Anything.
Hubby and I do our best to encourage these adventurous interactions with our kiddos because we want our home to have a culture of joy. Just as we delight in our children, we want them to be aware of how their Heavenly Father delights in them — a rich life of joyful relationship ready for them to embrace.
“You make known to me the path of life; you will fill me with joy in your presence, with eternal pleasures at your right hand.”
I’ve just finished reading the Psalms from start to finish, and if I were to sum up this collection of 150 poetic scribblings in a single word, it would be ‘overflow’. The Psalmists write out of the overflow of their souls. Sometimes they lament, sometimes they rant, but mostly they sing songs of great joy.
“Our mouths were filled with laughter, our tongues with songs of joy. Then it was said among the nations, “The Lord has done great things for them.” The Lord has done great things for us, and we are filled with joy.”
I want people to look at my family and see a testimony of God’s goodness. Wouldn’t it be amazing if the joy evident in our family homes prompted people to likewise say, “The Lord has done great things for them” – and to want it for themselves!
Can I just say, this is me preaching to myself. Joy isn’t always the dominant atmosphere of our home. Part of me feels guilty to even write this piece because I fail so miserably to allow joy to pervade every reach of our home. Yet, even that holds its joy. The joy in knowing that my gracious and loving God replenishes me at every opportunity. I only need turn my eyes to Him and the failings drop away. Joy revived!
Allow your kids to help you
One of the best ways to invite joy back is to let the kids show you how. Allow them to teach you how to find joy in the most unlikely places. In tearing down the steep incline along the side of the house on a billycart. In playing 15 games of UNO. Followed by seven games of pick-up-sticks. In jumping waves, licking the cookie spoon and dancing around the kitchen. In putting the clothes on the line with your daughter’s (clean) knickers on your head while she laughs uncontrollably from a window inside. True story. Happened this morning.
As Jesus said, we can learn much from children. And joy is second only to ‘love’ in the Fruit of the Spirit list (Galatians 5:22-23). That’s enough for me to sit up and pay attention… and say yes to a bounce on the trampoline more frequently!