Posts Tagged ‘rest’

8 Ways to Relax with Your Kids

Friday, June 1st, 2012


If you are looking for how to relax with your kids, here are a few ideas:

  1. Lie down outside on a blanket, and look up into the trees, observing nature. I remember back when we had a hammock. I looked up into the tops of the pine trees, which looked like they were converging because of perspective. If I waited long enough, I would see groups of birds come and go. I had no idea how many birds came into my yard; they were so high up that once I brought out binoculars to see them. I heard the sound of the wind through the pine trees. I saw flowers waving in the wind.
  2. Go cloud watching. Either you can point out the types of clouds (cumulus, stratus, cirrus, etc.), or you can find pictures in the clouds. I once saw a cloud in the shape of a dragon. Just yesterday I saw a cloud in the shape of an airplane. Kids will quietly stare into the sky until they excitedly tell you they see a particular shape.
  3. Find a hill, and roll down a hill. Many parks have grassy hills. My kids love lying down on the green grass, and rolling all the way down a hill. Take your shoes off, since part of the experience is feeling the grass on your feet.
  4. Take a nap. After lunch every day, my children are trained to be silent for an hour and a half. Feel free to take a nap. You will feel much better.
  5. Sit and watch your kids play in a creek. The sound of the shallow water tricking is relaxing, and you are not required to do anything. Either they can wear their swim trunks, or they can roll up their pants and walk through the water. (Bring towels.)
  6. Watch fish swimming around in an aquarium. Many public places have aquariums, including pet stores. Waiting rooms with aquariums are better, because you can sit in a chair while watching the fish swimming around. You can also go to an outdoor pond to look at the fish.
  7. Throw a frisbee, football, or softball back and forth to your kids. It’s relaxing because you just stand there in the beautiful sunshine most of the time, with occasional throwing. I think this is why men like golf. It allows them to mostly do nothing.
  8. Play on the beach. Once again, the kids play in the sand and surf while you just sit there on a towel. If you have young children or non-swimmers, putting a life vest on them will help you completely relax instead of being paranoid that they are going to drown. Yes, I am a mother. Now lean back and soak in some sunshine…

Is Fun Evil?

Thursday, May 12th, 2011


Is fun evil?

There is a growing movement in homeschool circles that claims that fun is evil. They point to our society to show that Americans live for fun rather than for God. (They’re right, by the way.) For that reason, they believe their homeschool families should never be allowed to have fun.

Homeschoolers of all people have already put everything on the altar, and they don’t act like normal Americans. They don’t bow down and worship fun at all. It’s the opposite. They have a huge responsibility on their shoulders, and way more work than ordinary people. It’s relentless, because they have to live with it 24/7. They actually need more fun in their lives: more fun seeking God, more fun with their spouses, and more fun bonding with their children.

Fun is refreshing; laughter is good for the soul. Fun is experiencing joy with the people you love. Life is so horrible already because of sin and strife. Let’s cling to God, our husbands, and our children and breathe joy into their lives and not make them feel like they’re in shackles. Shackles are from the enemy, who will cause us to prioritize the wrong things, often to look good to outsiders. Just connect to God and walk by His Spirit. It’s that simple.

Before I go further, I would like to say that the pursuit of fun can be evil, if we are pursuing that instead of God. Some things capture our attention and draw us away from God instead of towards Him. Reading, for example, can be idolatry if we get angry when our child interrupts our book. Our book was more important than our child at that moment, and that was sin. Anything can be sin. But that doesn’t mean you banish everything and make up tons of rules and impose them on people. All of us have idolatry. This world is too distracting. This does not negate the fact that God came to give us life abundantly, that He has given us all good things to enjoy, and that one of the fruits of the Spirit is joy.

John Piper, in his book Desiring God, states that the Christian life is all about the enjoyment of God. When we enjoy God, we spend more time with Him. And when we learn something new about God, we do sweet somersaults in our soul. Yes, John Piper calls this Christian hedonism, and he wholeheartedly endorses it. That’s because Scripture calls us to love God with wild abandon, and the only way to do it is when we enjoy Him thoroughly. Otherwise it’s only duty.

Many people feel the same way about church, that it’s a duty, and that it shouldn’t be fun. They don’t look forward to serving God’s people with wild abandon the way that God desires us to. They barely attend, leaving immediately after the service, never connecting to the body of Christ, which is the only real reason to gather. You can hear sermons and Christian worship over the radio. The church is the people. Do not forsake the assembling of yourselves together. He didn’t say preaching or singing. He said assembling. Look at the description of spiritual gifts and the command to use them in the body of Christ, not just at your house. Many homeschool parents disobey this command because they focus only on their children. They want to look good to the other people of the church. Because of this, they are too haggard to obey God by connecting with other believers.

Most homeschool parents are exhausted. Do you realize that fun is a part of rest? Part of the definition of rest is “leisure,” and we as homeschool parents don’t have it. We need to make time for it, especially when it comes to spending time with our spouse. My husband, for example, can sleep for ten hours and still not feel rested. He is weary. Often if he can just go out on a date with me or go shooting with a buddy, he ends up feeling refreshed, more so than a full night’s sleep. Why? Because fun is refreshing. It’s a break for the mind. Yes, fun can be exactly what your weary body needs.

Men Need a Break, Too

Friday, March 11th, 2011

men-need-a-break-tooI hear women whining all the time that they need a break. (I’m sometimes one of these women.) But seriously, as a homeschooling mother, we have all the freedom in the world. We can drop everything and go to the park on a sunny day. Or we don’t even have to get out of bed if we don’t feel like it. It’s the truth. My kids get their math done whether I get up or not. Of course, at some point they get hungry, but if you have at least one kid who can reach the cereal, you’ve got it made. (If you have babies and toddlers, disregard this first paragraph.)

So my friend dies and my head feels thick and I can’t think straight. I take the day off. I rule. I’m the boss. I’m the only adult in the house on Monday morning, and what I say goes. If I want the house to be quiet, I throw on a DVD. I can lie down whenever I want. I live the ideal life. What pressure is on me, I put on myself. I’m accountable to God and to my husband; that’s it.

Men can’t do this. They have to go to work even when the world is against them and is bashing them against the wall. Even when there’s so much to do at home that they’d almost rather be at work. The work is relentless for them. Wake up early, go to work, come home, work, sleep. Rinse and repeat. Their lives are miserable compared to ours. And we have the audacity to tell them that WE need a break, and good-bye; don’t forget to put the kids to bed. We begrudge them when they want to play on the computer or watch TV, just to rest their weary minds and bodies for a second. No, we’re nagging at the back of our minds, wanting them to “do the next thing,” whatever that is, and the list never ends.

One time a drawer in the kitchen busted and fell apart completely. My first thought was to hide it so that my husband wouldn’t see one more thing he had to do. Eventually when he found out it was broken, he asked how long it had been that way. “It doesn’t matter,” I said.

Even with no list in the back of my mind, the home is no oasis for my husband. I don’t know what it is about 5 o’clock, but kids start screaming for no reason. The kids are happy and productive (by and large with many exceptions) during the school day. But when their daddy comes home, within five minutes, it’s “AAAaaa!” Then he feels like he has to shepherd the children biblically, and he has nothing left. (But he does it anyway.) He just walked through the door, for crying out loud. It makes me want to run over and put my hand over the mouth of the screaming child. “Don’t you love your daddy?” I ask them, and get a perplexed look in return.

As a homeschool woman, I want to do everything in my power to grant refreshment to my husband. But some things are simply out of my control. Just the physical house itself breaks down faster than my husband is able to fix it, and I can only hide things for so long. I try to do a lot of things myself and mess them up worse.

Yes, men need a break. Let your husband rest. Erase everything in your mind and think, as your goal, “I want my husband to rest.” This way maybe he has a fighting chance at surviving.