I sat down and played board games with my younger daughter yesterday afternoon. I had a ton of stuff to do to finish the laundry and get us packed for our trip this weekend. Board games were not on my to-do list.
But when she asked to play, I realized that as much time as I’ve spent with this younger child of mine this year, the past month or so has been lacking in time spent just playing. We’ve done school. We’ve run errands. We’ve even been on a field trip or two. But we haven’t played and simply been silly. We haven’t had many of those moments where we’ve done something just because it’s fun.
So yesterday, I set aside the to-do list and played board games for an hour. We might leave a little bit later on our trip than I planned because I made that choice, but it was worth it.
You see, my younger daughter feels loved when you spend time with her doing the things that she likes to do. She enjoys the simple moments spent playing a board game or shooting hoops on the driveway. She’d rather spend 10 minutes taking a walk with me than watch TV by herself.
My girls are almost 13 and 11. I have five and seven years left with them at home. If this year is any indication, those years are going to fly by in the blink of an eye. When they leave home, I want them to remember home as a place where they were valued, a place where they were loved and a place where laughter and fun were as much a part of the fabric of our home as discipline and learning.
Because our role as parents isn’t just to teach our kids. It’s to laugh with them. It’s to steal moments to play with them. It’s to enjoy them. While God calls us to constantly be teaching our kids about Him (Deuteronomy 6:6-9), He also tells us that they are a heritage and a reward (Psalm 127:3). I know that I can sometimes get so focused on the teaching and training piece that I forget the heritage and reward piece.
So, today, I want to encourage you to enjoy your children. Set aside the to-do list and play with them. Do something that they want to do. Get down on the floor and play Hot Wheels. Go outside and splash in the rain puddles. Play a board game. Have a tea party. Read a book together.
Because our kids aren’t just a job to be done, another thing to check off our to-do list. They are a heritage and a reward from God. They are to be enjoyed.