One Focus That Will Change Everything

009.png

 

There’s a movie theater at the gym where I work out. When I first get in there, I can’t hear the movie because all I can hear is the voice in my head that says, “I don’t want to be here. I can’t do this. I’m out of shape. I’m too fat. I would rather be sleeping.” Then I hear my feet hitting the treadmill, then the sound of the treadmill belt. The sound of everyone else’s feet pounding increasingly distracts me. The beeping noises, the feet pounding, the treadmill belt—I can barely take it! The desire to punch someone out at the front desk if they do not turn up the volume is overwhelming. 🙂

 

But if I take my focus off of all of those things and put it on the movie and listen very hard, eventually the movie volume grows louder and louder. Before I know it, all I can hear is the movie. Actually, believe it or not, sometimes I forget I am in the cardio room!

 

When I’m really focused on the movie, it sounds loud and very clear. I forget about all my complaints. In our everyday lives, the busyness, texts, social media, TV, coworkers, children, and friends can all be very noisy. Discouragement, loss of a job, inability to have a baby—those things are really loud. Sometimes all we can hear is our own negative thinking, our hurt feelings, discouragement beating in our hearts, self-loathing.

 

BUT if we will just focus on listening for God’s voice, eventually it will be louder than all of the other things that are happening around us, inside of us, and to us. When we hear His voice above everything else, we can actually, believe it or not, sometimes forget we are in the middle of hurt and chaos!

 

Nothing Should Separate the Love of God’s Children


A small bit of yeast makes a whole batch rise.
It’s truly sad how friendships grow further and further apart because a little bit of poison, offense, or hurt builds up walls, breaks down relationships, tears away partnerships, and destroys the intimacy a friendship once had. Maybe you have a friend to whom you once were close, but you slowly grow further and further apart. There is less pursuit of and desire for the things you used to do but don’t do anymore. Before you know it, you’ve got a divided friendship where once it was unified.
I think we should be people who forgive and forget quickly, tear down walls, and destroy barriers so we can stay one in Christ because Jesus’ last words were that we would be one like He and the Father are one. There should be nothing separating us from the love of God’s children. Nothing.

It’s Not Blood That Makes Family; It’s Love


Recently, some friends of ours had a family emergency with one of their daughters. One of the onward-looking daughters had to witness her family member go into this crisis. She was just in turmoil. She was so upset. As she sobbed, I sobbed with her. Then I began to think about their family.

Their family has four biological children and three adopted children. The daughter I was holding was adopted into this family. I held her and wept because of her pain, even though I knew her sister was going to be just fine. My heart was broken with hers because she loved her sister so much.
As I thought about their family relationships, I realized this daughter I was holding had been adopted into this family. She wasn’t blood-related to her sister. She was adopted. Then this thought came to my mind: It’s not blood that makes a family; it’s love.
If you are struggling to fit in or be accepted by your family members, maybe you simply need to look around and redefine family.

Mama Bear’s Cubs Face Rejection

I never really expected my girls would endure friendship rejection. Most definitely I expected to raise my kids in a Christ-centered home and community. Surely, they would not be subject to the God-less relationships similar to my childhood.
I should have known this was a terribly incorrect assumption when my oldest was in the first grade. I hung out with her teacher one day at lunch and observed. While all the other children were playing, my daughter meandered around the two-foot-high timbers bordering the Christian school’s playground perimeter. She repeated this lonely walk-a-thon daily. She rarely played or engaged with the other kids. The teachers never said a word, but I should have noticed the early piercing of her heart. Throughout that entire first-grade year, my little six-year old would beg me to homeschool her.
So, that’s how I came to homeschool my kids. I’ve been doing it for a long time now. We noticed and took decisive action to right the wrong in her heart. Friends had broken her spirit.
But the wisdom of the Lord would prevail. My oldest daughter, now almost 17 years old, has enjoyed many friendships and rich community time since our homeschool journey began. However, even with close friendships, a single rejection can break her heart and impede her ability to be thankful for what she does have.
Have you or a loved one been a victim of the negative power of rejection?
Why do friends stop texting, inviting, or including? My child and other teens I know can be surrounded by a multitude of friends, yet completely alone. I have overheard some say, “Never alone. Forever lonely.” There is an epidemic of hurting teens who appear included and well loved on the surface. The signs of hurt and loneliness are evident, though, in other areas of their lives, such as strife with parents and siblings, sudden withdrawal from friends and family, or lashing out in anger.
I want to pause and acknowledge that even my own children have sometimes been the rejecters instead of the rejected. I ask you, please forgive us if you have been that friend we unwittingly excluded or denied.
What’s a mother supposed to do about this deep and wide issue of heartbreaking, repeated rejection?
We leave it to these young girls to solve their own relationship problems while we consume Christian books learning how to help our kids marry and protect their purity. However, the way they live in relationships today is a great picture of how they will live them out as a wife and mother.
In the name of privacy and (unearned) trust, are we truly expecting these little self-centered hearts to work it out for themselves?
I have this sickening feeling that many of our children could be developing a pattern of quitting or divorcing things that no longer thrill them. Like me, I am sure you desire your children to be finishers, faithful to the end, to forgive and forget quickly, and to demonstrate endurance with people.
But how will our daughters learn to be good friends if we don’t teach them along the way? How will they be faithful wives if we don’t teach them to have endurance now?
I submit to you that it’s time to help this generation lead their heart while learning to be a good and faithful friend.
First, we must be acutely aware of how our daughters operate in friendships. We consistently need to be sitting on the outside of their social circles, listening and asking tough questions like,
“Why are you not spending time with this friend anymore? Tell me what’s really going on. Don’t withdraw your friendship just because an issue came up.”  
We need to teach them: Friendships require open discussions, even if it’s embarrassing, because working through difficulties creates deeper, stronger relationships. Don’t kill friendships with walls against intimacy simply because someone hurts you. Deal with the adversity. Run straight into it with truth and love.
Secondly, we need to teach our kids to love without expectation. Even if someone starts to dislike them or even hate them, they should choose love, and the source of love lives in us. We are called to practice forgiveness at least 490 times. Do you really want your kids to practice un-forgiveness or divorce with their friends just because they can’t work through a challenging moment? Let’s encourage our children to chooseto be a good friend to have—how to be a “stayer” and not a “player.”
Thirdly, we must teach them to lead their own heart. The truth is that I can’t keep my daughter’s heart from breaking and I have limited control over how other people treat her. However, what I can do is teach her how not to have an easily offended heart. I can teach her to lead her thoughts by taking them captive.
Lastly, I ensure my daughter knows who she is in Christ—that she is trademarked by God. Period. A trademark is legally protected; your brand is legally yours. Likewise, your identity in Christ is yours and cannot be changed by any other person’s choices or opinions.

Ultimately, the ability to be a steadfast friend in Christ speaks to the way we measure success in home education. I would venture to guess that if you raise a person who is a faithful friend to others, your child will grow to be a good friend to you. Someday, your positional authority as parents will fade into the sunset and what remains in your child will be a brother or sister in Christ whom you have taught, hopefully, to love with His love. When our own children are good friends to have, they reflect the love of Jesus, which amounts to a greater accomplishment than any ACT, SAT, or MBA.

Encourage Yourself in the Lord

Several years ago, I got an offer to go work for a company in Dallas. I drove down to check everything out. Wow. I couldn’t believe rush hour traffic. Rush hour started at three o’clock and lasted until seven o’clock every evening. That is four hours. Your commute from home to work could easily be ninety minutes to two hours. My friends did it often. They would leave for the office by 6 a.m. so they could beat traffic on the way to the office, and they would come home at seven. I thought about the quality of life, and I turned that job down quickly.

In rush hour, you are never alone. There’s traffic everywhere. Everywhere you look, you see people, and you can wave and smile at people. On the other hand, sometimes if you’re driving at night on a country road, you may not see anyone for an hour.

                                      

Scripture says there is a wide path and a narrow path. I think of it in terms of traffic. The wide path is like rush hour traffic. It’s busy. Most people are on this road, going in the same direction. They’re all on a mission to get somewhere, from here to there, point A to point B. The narrow path is the less-traveled road. The people on it are few and far between. You might be walking all by yourself for a while before you see another person passing by.
I think the narrow path in Christ can feel lonely at times. You can look around and see the busy rush hour traffic, but you don’t jump in and join it. You choose to take a secondary road. It’s like deciding, “I’m getting off of interstate 40 onto this side road. I’m going to take the backwoods route.”
Think about it. When you get off onto those secondary roads, they’re more peaceful and winding. They’re beautiful. But sometimes the rest stop is a backwoods mechanic shop with a filthy bathroom. The towns are few and far between. Sometimes you have to pee in the grass. It can be challenging to take the narrow path of God because it isn’t traveled by as many people.
Christians can fall into the trap of doing things because everyone else is doing them. Sometimes we don’t even think about it or we figure, “It’s okay for this family, so it’s okay for our family.” I see Christians doing this every day. They give their kids wider and wider boundaries. What they are doing is taking them from the narrow path to the wide path. Their children start exposing themselves to entertainment and other influences that may jeopardize their purity. Before you know it, instead of following God, they are following the world.
As Christians, we need to protect the wellspring of life that is our heart and make good choices. I believe Christians should be out front. People should want to be like us. They should be following our way and wanting to make the choices we’re making because our fruit is awesome. We don’t look like the world. We love the world, but we don’t look like the world. We’re in the world but not of the world.
I will tell you right now, making the decision to stay on the narrow path no matter what is lonely at times. You are going to find that your friends on the narrow path are a wide range of ages, say seventy down to twelve. There are so few people that you have to change your perspective of what your friendship circle should look like so you can be close with people who you know are making these choices with you.
I would encourage you to connect, but when you feel lonely, encourage yourself in the Lord. Keep yourself encouraged like David in 1 Samuel 30. Don’t look to anyone else to encourage you. Enjoy their encouragement when it comes along but don’t rely on it. Don’t stand on it for strength. Stand on the Lord and His strength and remember what He has done for you already.

Parents Are Asking the Wrong Question

“Did you have fun today?”
“What did you do for fun?”
“Did you have fun with your friends?”
What is the one consistent word here? Its the three-letter word fun


F-U-N. 
Fun.

This type of question is ruining our children’s ability simply to BE. I hear parents, grandparents, and siblings asking young people, “Are you going to have a fun day? What did you do that was fun? Did you have fun with your friends?” 

I hear people asking this sort of question all of the time, even in my own house.
Is this really the question we should be asking? Should we gauge the quality of a young person’s day based on whether he or she had fun? 

We need to ask ourselves what we are teaching our children by asking this.

We are giving them the impression that 
life is all about having fun.
I’m not trying to suggest that children—or adults for that matter—should never have fun. We should love what we do. We should be engaged; we should have energy for life. We should enjoy our lives because Jesus came to bring us life “to the full” (John 10:10 NIV).
On the other hand, Jesus also said, “In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world” (John 16:33 NIV). 

Hardships are part of life. We will experience struggles. We must often deal with troubling circumstances. In times of trial, however, we can have peace and find strength because we know Jesus loves us. He understands our pain and is both able and willing to help us in all things. We can find joy in the growth of our relationship with Him.

It will not be fun, but there is GOOD in it.

Recently, I took care of a child for a friend of mine. When my friend came to pick up her daughter, one of the first things she did was ask her child, “What did you do for fun today?” Her daughter replied, “Nothing. I haven’t done anything fun today.” The reaction to this statement bordered on shock, as if such a circumstance were unthinkable. 

Why is it unthinkable? What is horrible about a child not having fun all of the time? You shouldnt entertain your own children, and I shouldnt entertain them, either.
If I gear my children’s lives toward fun, I am setting them up for future failure, depression, and battles when life isnt fun. I am setting them up for disappointment in marriage because they won’t be able to appreciate those low-key days of rest and recovery with their spouses after hectic times. I want my children to be able to treasure the quiet moments of simple companionship. 

When we emphasize the value of fun, 
we are sowing in our children 
the need to be entertained continuously. 


We are setting them up to view other people in terms of how they can make life more fun. We are encouraging our children to seek relationships based on fun. We are teaching them that it is okay to avoid or abandon tasks and relationships that don’t seem fun.

Many children today are constantly asking, “What are we going to do now?” They are always seeking new ways to entertain themselves. Next time your kids are with a play date or hanging out with teenage friends, listen to them talk with each other. Take note of how often they ask each other what they will do next. 

Listen to them tell each other that what they’ve been doing is getting old; they are bored and ready for the next source of entertainment. Girls who play indoors are always jumping to the next activity: “Hey, lets edit pictures. Lets do a photo shoot. Let’s play a game. Lets make a video. Lets make a song. Lets do all of these projects together. Lets go play this sport. Lets go play that. Im tired of this—lets move on.”
As a mother, I certainly appreciate when my children can entertain themselves and come up with activities on their own. The trouble is that kids don’t stay focused on a particular goal. They don’t stay engaged and committed. You don’t see kids building a fort all day long the way we did when we were young. These days its more of a frenzy. Kids dart from one activity to the next to the next to the next. Theres no break.
I don’t hear kids suggesting to each other that they hang out and talk for a while or read a book or study the Bible. I know these suggestions sound odd, but they shouldn’t. Life isnt about bouncing wildly from one fun activity to the next. I’m afraid that children who live in restless pursuit of entertainment will grow into adults who are never satisfied with simply being. God created us as human beings, yet we allow our children to be only human doings. We are setting our children on a dangerous course because, let’s face it, most entertainment for kids and for adults is of this world and not of God. 

The desire for stimulation can distract us from 
the values and purposes of God. 


Will our children be too busy ping-ponging around to realize that?

I believe we need to stop asking children, “Did you have fun today?” We need to stop telling them when they leave the house, “Be sure to have fun!” Since it’s in our power to influence our children’s focus, let’s choose some different questions: 

Whom did you encourage today? 
How were you encouraged today? 
Did you share your beautiful smile with someone? 
Did anyone surprise you with a beautiful smile? 
Did you see someone do something kind today? 
Did you share with a friend today? 
Did you help your friends mommy when you were at their house all day? 
Did you leave their place better than you found it? 
When you spent time with your friends, did you ask how they were doing and actually listen to the answer? 
Did you ask them if they were hurting in any way?
We assume our children are too young and emotionally immature to have those kinds of conversations with us and their friends. How can we believe this when we know that children are not too young to be hurt? They could already, on any given day, be suffering rejection and deep wounds. They are already being challenged morally. They are already struggling with matters of the mind and spirit and body. Our children need adults who are willing to be transparent and dig deeply with them at the earliest ages.
We should never look down on people because they are young. We shouldnt assume children are incapable of deep conversation. It is up to us to teach them. 

If we raise our children to pursue fun, we cant expect them 
suddenly to transform into insightful, compassionate 
human beings when they reach adulthood. 


We need to teach them while they are young: “Train a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not turn from it” (Prov. 22:6 NIV). We need to teach our children how to be introspective, how to search their own souls and seek the Lord. We need to teach them to pay attention to their thoughts, emotions, and experiences. We need to teach them to take a genuine, loving interest in other people’s thoughts, emotions, and experiences. People are never too young to learn the Lord’s ways and do the Lord’s work.

It is important for our children to learn how to connect with their friends on a deeper level. Otherwise the friendships they have when they are young won’t be sustainable beyond this particular season of their lives. We should teach kids from a young age the value of developing sound, lasting relationships.
Spending time with other people isn’t about cramming in as many fun activities as possible. Rather, it’s about companionship. It’s about relaxing your guard and getting to know each other. It’s about learning how to love each other. Close friends know how to rest together. They find refreshment in each other’s company. Kids need to understand that it’s okay to say, “You know what, Im tired. Lets chill and hang out. Maybe we can read together or talk for a while.”
What’s not okay is complaining about being bored. Maybe one person enjoys sharing some quiet time while another person doesn’t. The main objective isnt to have fun and be entertained. When you are with the people you love, you can find enjoyment in the busy times as well as the quiet times.
I notice many children today who seemoverstimulated and utterly exhausted. Adults allow and expect kids to stay on the go all of the time, jumping from one activity to the next to the next to the next. No wonder kids are tired! No one has taught them how to be still. No one has taught them the value of being still.
Stillness calms people. It is enjoyable. It allows us to rest and reflect. Kids, too, can learn to be comfortable enough with themselves and the people around them simply to be. 

How else will they ever hear the still, quiet voice of God?



Love vs. Lust

Love is blind until the end of time … or until the other person grates on your nerves. Then you will see clearly all of those things that drive you crazy that you skipped over at first. Your vision was kind of hazy in the beginning, before you were able to see clearly. Your love was blind. Blind love does not see any faults, but sooner or later they do come up—and that’s when you hit the rocks.

Marriage gets hard because at first you didn’t scrutinize. Your love was blind, so you bought lies. You only saw what you wanted to see until the lust wore off and all you were left with was the real person underneath.

Lust will blindly accept another’s flaws at the expense of family and friends. Lust will throw others under the bus to defend itself, but in five years, the people who were in lust will be complaining of the very things you noticed and warned them of. You told them; you reminded them; you shared with them; you sent up flags. You told them there may be despair in their future, but they wouldn’t listen. Their ears were clogged. They were blind. They couldn’t see anything but what they wanted to see. 

It’s not faith. No, it’s flesh. It’s not love; it’s lust. Lust hides the flaws because the attraction is so strong. But love deals truthfully with every flaw. It doesn’t hurt others to defend the ones you love. Instead, it works together to find unity in the will of God.

Do We Really Have Free Will?


God does not control everything that happens to you. If you believe He does, I can assure you that Satan will attempt to destroy you. 

God delegated control to us. We are responsible for releasing the healing power of God. It’s not our power; it’s God’s power. It’s God’s power inside of us.
The reason people aren’t being healed today is that they don’t know the truth. As Scripture says, “My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge” (Hosea 4:6 NKJV). It’s our ignorance that is killing us. Some of you have seen those bumper stickers that say, “What you don’t know won’t hurt you.” 

That’s not true. What you don’t know is killing you. Amen? Ignorance will allow Satan to make you think that it’s not God’s will to heal you.
As Christians, we look to Jesus as the supreme example. Jesus said, “Anyone who has seen me has seen the Father.…The words I say to you are not just my own. Rather, it is the Father, living in me, who is doing his work. Believe me when I say that I am in the Father and the Father is in me …” (John 14:9–11 NIV). He said, “I do nothing on my own but speak just what the Father has taught me. The one who sent me is with me; he has not left me alone, for I always do what pleases him (John 8:28-29 NIV).

Jesus also said, “I tell you the truth, the Son can do nothing by himself; he can do only what he sees his Father doing, because whatever the Father does the Son also does. For the Father loves the Son and shows him all he does.…By myself I can do nothing; I judge only as I hear, and my judgment is just, for I seek not to please myself but him who sent me” (John 5:19–20, 30 NIV). He said, “I did not speak of my own accord, but the Father who sent me commanded me what to say and how to say it” (John 12:49 NIV).


Jesus said that He is just like the Father. He didn’t do or say whatever He wanted but only what the Father willed Him to do and say. 


Jesus never made one person sick. He never refused to heal one single person.

If all that is true—which it is—then Jesus would have misrepresented God if God is the One who gives sickness, disease, and problems. If God just allowed it, well then, Jesus misrepresented God because He never refused to heal a single person.

I can, however, show you a couple of instances where people refused to accept healing from Him. 

Look at Mark 6:1–6. When Jesus visited His hometown, “He could do no mighty work there, except that He laid His hands on a few sick people and healed them. And He marveled because of their unbelief” (Mark 6:5–6 NKJV). Notice that it’s “could,” not “would.” It’s that He couldn’t do it, not that He didn’t want to do it. He couldn’t do miracles there because of their unbelief.


Not His unbelief. 

Their unbelief.  

You see, there are a couple of instances where Jesus could not heal people—not because of His lack of power but because of their lack of faith. It says the same thing in the book of Acts and other places. But you cannot find a single person on whom Jesus ever put sickness. He never said, “No, you didn’t learn your lesson, so suffer a bit longer with this disease.” He even healed unbelievers. Check out the story of the ten lepers (Luke 17:11-19). That is HOW LOVING OUR GOD IS!
If you really believe that Jesus is a perfect representation, the exact image, of the Father (Hebrews 1:3), then you have to take Jesus as the example and say, “It’s not God’s will for sickness to remain in our bodies.” 

The only time God ever struck people with sickness was in punishment and judgment, and ALL of our judgment has been fully placed upon Jesus in the new covenant. It’s no longer our portion! 

One Tool To Get into Your Child’s Heart

Pillow talk.
Did you know that our children’s minds review their day’s events every night? Every night in their bed, they contemplate and review everything that happened that day. Now, you have one of two options as a parent: you can stay up late as the child is processing and talk to them and stay up all night, or you can choose a tool called pillow talk.
Pillow talk is a journal that is passed between the parent and the child. At night, when a child is processing their day, they can open up their journal and write down what was the greatest thing of their day. So pillow talk journal, you may ask questions like, “What is the greatest part of your day? What part of your day was the most disappointing?” etcetera. Children remember the good, but they also have regrets at the end of the day that they process at night—regrets of failing a test or disappointing behavior that they showed or regretting the way they treated someone. They also consider their wounds.
This is actually the time of the night that they can monopolize your time until the wee hours of the morning if you let them. I have many friends that stay up all night long with their child because that’s when their heart is the most vulnerable and open.
It sounds great in theory, but if you work or homeschool or anything else that you need to do to be productive during the day, you cannot healthily live without sleep. And if you’re married, your husband may want some of your time too. I believe that if you stay up all night with you kids every night and available to them every beck and call that two things happen: one, you lose intimate time with your husband or your spouse; and two, your kids don’t learn to process and how to healthily communicate at an appropriate time. If you’re OCD, you need the time that your child is in bed to reorganize and pick up your house and clean it up for your own sanity the next day.
Rest is an important part of healing. But I also don’t wanna miss out on my time with my kiddos. I don’t wanna miss out on their sweet vulnerable hearts in the time that that they’re processing. So what can you do? Sleep, clean or have late night talks with them, help?
I personally cannot live without sleep. I’m exhausted. When it’s time to go to bed, I’m usually ready for everyone to go to bed. I want to be horizontal. I don’t need to close my eyes, but I need to be horizontal.
I found the tool that lets me into my child’s heart and allow me to sleep. Pillow talk. It’s a journal the kids and I used and it’s a fun game.
What we do is I will write a note to my child. I may write a note about my heart or maybe a way that I behave with them that I want to apologize for. I may write something that I’m disappointed in, and just my life, being vulnerable and transparent. It has nothing to do with them, but just something that I’m just being transparent about. And then I would write some questions like, “Is there anything that has been bothering you lately? Is there an area that I can encourage you more in, or an area where you’re feeling discouraged?” And these don’t need to be long answers, but the answers will help me ask and have appropriate conversations the next day when we’re alert and awake.
Then we sneak it into each other’s pillow. So I would sneak this under my child’s pillow and leave it there and when they read it at night. It also helps steer their thoughts at night. So at night it gives them something productive to think on. I may even put in a positive message or encouragement in their pillow talk journal, or put a bible verse, or a picture. Sometimes, I draw pictures. I’m a horrible artist but I draw pictures for their entertainment. So we sneak into each other’s pillows and see if we can get in there without getting caught. And it’s just a lot of fun.
When it’s under my pillow, I get to read it and I get inside to their heart. So I can be intentional about my time during the day to pull them aside and make sure I have some one-on-one time to discuss what I read. It’s an open door to have an healthy conversation with them at a time when we’re all rested and healthy.

Parents Are Asking the Wrong Question

“Did you have fun today?”
“What did you do for fun?”
“Did you have fun with your friends?”
What is the one consistent word here? Its the three-letter word fun


F-U-N. 
Fun.

This type of question is ruining our children’s ability simply to BE. I hear parents, grandparents, and siblings asking young people, “Are you going to have a fun day? What did you do that was fun? Did you have fun with your friends?” 

I hear people asking this sort of question all of the time, even in my own house.
Is the focus of this question the right one parents should be asking? Should we gauge the quality of a young person’s day based on whether or not they had fun? 

We need to ask ourselves what we are teaching our children by asking this. 

We are giving them the impression that life is all about having fun.
I’m not trying to suggest children—or adults—should never have fun. We should love what we do. We should be engaged; we should have energy for life. We should enjoy our lives because Jesus came to bring us life “to the full” (John 10:10 NIV).
On the other hand, Jesus also said, “In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world” (John 16:33 NIV). 

Hardships are part of life. We will experience struggles. We must often deal with troubling circumstances. In times of trial, however, we can have peace and find strength because we know Jesus loves us. He understands our pain and is both able and willing to help us in all things. We can find joy in the growth of our relationship with Him. It will not be fun, but there is good in it.

Recently, I took care of a child for a friend of mine. When my friend came to pick up her daughter, one of the first things she did was ask her child, “What did you do for fun today?” Her daughter replied, “Nothing. I haven’t done anything fun today.” The reaction to this statement bordered on shock, as if such a circumstance were unthinkable. Yet why is it unthinkable? What is horrible about a child not having fun all of the time? You shouldnt entertain your own children, and I shouldnt entertain yours, either.
If I gear my children’s lives toward fun, I am setting them up for future failure, depression, and battles when life isnt fun. I am setting them up for disappointment in marriage because they won’t be able to appreciate those low-key days of rest and recovery with their spouses after hectic times. Will they be able to treasure the quiet moments of simple companionship? 

When we emphasize the value of fun, we are sowing their the need to be entertained continuously. We are setting them up to view other people in terms of how they can make life more fun. We are encouraging our children to seek relationships based on fun. We are teaching them that it is okay to avoid or abandon tasks and relationships if they don’t seem fun.
Many children today are constantly asking, “What are we going to do now?” They are always seeking new ways to entertain themselves. Next time your kids are with a play date or hanging out with teenage friends, listen to them talk with each other. Take note of how often they ask each other what they will do next. Listen to them tell each other what they’ve been doing is getting old; they are bored and ready for the next source of entertainment. Girls who play indoors are always jumping to the next activity: “Hey, lets edit pictures. Lets do a photo shoot. Let’s play a game. Lets make a video. Lets make a song. Lets do all of these projects together. Lets go play this sport. Lets go play that. Im tired of this—lets move on.”
As a mother, I certainly appreciate when my children can entertain themselves and come up with activities on their own. The trouble is, kids don’t stay focused on a particular goal. They don’t stay engaged and committed. You don’t see kids building a fort all day long the way we did when we were young. These days its more of a frenzy: Kids dart from one activity to the next to the next to the next. Theres no break.
I don’t hear kids suggesting to each other to hang out and talk for a while or read a book or study the Bible. I know these suggestions sounds odd, but they shouldn’t. Life isnt about bouncing wildly from one fun activity to the next. I’m afraid children who live in restless pursuit of entertainment will grow into adults who are never satisfied with simply being. God created us as human beings, yet we allow our children to be only human doings. We are setting our children on a dangerous course because, let’s face it, most entertainment for kids and for adults is of this world and not of God. The desire for stimulation can distract us from the values and purposes of God. Will our children be too busy ping-ponging around to realize that?
I believe we need to stop asking children, “Did you have fun today?” We need to stop telling them when they leave the house, “Be sure to have fun!” Since it’s in our power to influence our children’s focus, let’s choose some different questions: Who did you encourage today? How were you encouraged today? Did you share your beautiful smile with someone? Did anyone surprise you with a beautiful smile and prompt you to smile back? Did you see someone do something kind today? Did you share with a friend today? Did you help your friends mommy when you were at their house all day? Did you leave their place better than you found it? When you spent time with your friends, did you ask how they were doing and actually listen to the answer? Did you ask them if they were hurting in any way?
We assume our children are too young and emotionally immature to have those kinds of conversations with us and with their friends. How can we believe this when we know children are not too young to be hurt? They could already, on any given day, be suffering rejection and deep wounds. They are already being challenged morally. They are already struggling with matters of the mind and spirit and body. Our children need adults who are willing to be transparent and dig deeply with them at the earliest ages.
We should never look down on people because they are young. We shouldnt assume children are incapable of deep conversation. It is up to us to teach them. If we raise our children to pursue fun, we can’t expect them suddenly to transform into insightful, compassionate human beings when they reach adulthood. We need to teach them while they are young: “Train a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not turn from it” (Prov. 22:6 NIV). We need to teach our children how to be introspective—how to search their own souls and seek the Lord. We need to teach them to pay attention to their thoughts, emotions, and experiences. We need to teach them to take a genuine, loving interest in other people’s thoughts, emotions, and experiences. People are never too young to learn the Lord’s ways and do the Lord’s work.
It is important for our children to learn how to connect with their friends on a deeper level. Otherwise the friendships they have when they are young won’t be sustainable beyond this particular season of their lives. We should teach kids from a young age the value of developing sound, lasting relationships.
Spending time with other people isn’t about cramming in as many fun activities as possible. Rather, it’s about companionship. It’s about relaxing your guard and getting to know each other. It’s about learning how to love each other. Close friends know how to rest together. They find refreshment in each other’s company. Kids need to understand that it’s okay to say, “You know what, Im tired. Lets chill and hang out. Maybe we can read together or talk for a while.”
What’s not okay is complaining about being bored. Maybe one person enjoys sharing some quiet time while another person doesn’t. The main objective isnt to have fun—to be entertained. When you are with the people you love, you can find enjoyment in the busy times as well as the quiet times.
I notice many children today who seemoverstimulated and utterly exhausted. Adults allow and expect kids to stay on the go all of the time, jumping from one activity to the next to the next to the next. No wonder kids are tired! No one has taught them how to be still. No one has taught them the value of being still.
Stillness calms people. It is enjoyable. It allows us to rest and reflect. Kids, too, can learn to be comfortable enough with themselves and the people around them simply to be. How else will they ever hear the still, quiet voice of God?