When I was growing up in the Midwest, our family would visit new homes as they were being built. We’d walk around and dream of a bigger house, our own bedrooms, more bathrooms.

(My grandmother was right. Culturally we have fewer children and more bathrooms in our homes. Go figure.)

These Sunday afternoon jaunts weren’t just exploratory. We had a mission.

We collected the silver disks punched out of electrical sockets. (Back in the day that’s how the plug-ins looked.)group-of-young-people-playing-cards

We used them as chips for playing poker.

There are those who will complain that a father shouldn’t teach his children to gamble. We weren’t using money.

We could, however, get wildly extravagant with those disks.

Dad was a fun guy. He loved to laugh. And when he started laughing, everyone joined in. So he taught us the things that he enjoyed. He and Mom played cards a lot–canasta, penuchle, gin rummy.

None of us ever could grasp bridge, which they loved. So we played poker.

Five card stud. Seven card draw. Texas hold ’em. Games of concentration, focus, thinking.

Long-term effect: I learned to bluff at an early age.

Even better than that. I had a chance to see that fun was an attitude. It didn’t require an iPad or SmartPhone. It just required a little bit of imagination and ingenuity.

You see that in young kids all the time. When my kids were small, Christmas was one of those bittersweet times where I’d spend hours searching for the best gift at the best price. Something they’d enjoy AND be educationally significant.

Only to have them play with the box for hours on end.

Fun isn’t something that can always be planned. It’s more of a celebration of the moment. An opportunity to laugh at yourself instead of taking yourself too seriously. It’s easing off the “should’s” and allowing the “could’s” to be a reality.

photo-2John bought several containers of glow sticks. Those wobbly things you crack so it releases whatever stuff inside that makes them glow. We were with a gathering of people, and the kids decided to play with them.

In the middle of the day.

The sun was shining. There were no dark rooms. But they sat there and cracked those glow sticks till everyone of them was used. Close to 100.

And they made jewelry out of them.

My immediate response was, “You won’t see them shine in the dark! Wait for night!”

But they were having too much fun with those giant jewelry pieces. And when I saw John wearing two large hoops like a tribal warrior, I couldn’t do anything but laugh.photo-1

Culturally, we’re awful at celebrating. We’re horrible at spontaneous fun. We think if it doesn’t cost us something, it can’t possibly be fun.

“This day belongs to the Lord! Let’s celebrate and be glad TODAY.”    Psalms 118:24

God celebrated when He made us. Because He loves us that much. Fun is His invention–not our creation.

My dad got it. John gets it. I’m slowly learning it.

I’m not bluffing.

What will it take to make you laugh today?

Picture of card players courtesy of allposters.com

6 responses »

  1. Judy says:

    Love this Dayle! I totally agree! You have a fun family as a result!

  2. Grace4mE says:

    Thanks for your reminders Dayle [again!] from Proverbs 15 and Psalm 118. I choose my attitude every day also and I hope I choose HIS! aaaagh off to Ukraine next week and TODAY I’m gonna celebrate and laugh like crazy at /with John!

  3. Oh Dayle. We played poker for oats for our horses.

  4. Barb Whitehouse says:

    Dayle, I don’t think you are slowly learning it, I think you have already learned it!

  5. terry morgan says:

    My kids have loved those glow sticks also… and love them even more when they can get the grownups to play along! Thanks for the reminder to join in the fun much more quickly! 🙂

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