Little Is The New Big
by Jon Acuff
The funny thing about having big fun with your kids is that it doesn’t take a big moment.
Have you ever noticed that? The times you planned something expensive and complicated with your kids, they barely blinked an eye. The time you washed the car in your driveway and threw sponges at each other they talked about forever.
Why does that happen?
I think it’s the “cardboard box” effect. Every parent has had one of those moments when your child ignores the present you got them and instead goes gaga for the box it comes in. “No,” you think to yourself, “that’s just a cardboard box. The actual toy lights up and has laser beam sounds and is amazing.” But your toy protests go ignored as they chew on their new favorite object on the planet.
The cardboard box effect continues as they get older and starts to apply to experiences, not just presents. I have forgotten week long vacations as a child but still remember the night my dad put his hand in the Jello at dinner. My brothers and I lost our minds as he scooped out a big red handful of dessert as if that was the most normal thing in the world.
We had big fun because he did something little.
In your pursuit to have fun with your kids, don’t put big pressure on yourselves.
Certainly there are moments that call for elaborate and detailed adventures, but little moments matter too.
A little trip to a bakery before school, a little water balloon fight, a little hand in the Jello, those are the fun kind of little moments that add up to big memories.
About the Author:
Jon Acuff is the New York Times Bestselling author of five books. His latest, Do Over: Rescue Monday, Reinvent Your Work & Never Get Stuck focuses on building a long-lasting career by investing in a “Career Savings Account.” Read his blog at Acuff.me and follow him on Twitter, @JonAcuff.
Tribes, Fun to Talk About, Hard to Actually Do
I like to think I am a brave parent, right up until the moment I actually have to be brave.
I talk a good game, know most of the buzz words and occasionally act like I have a few things figured out. All of this works pretty well right up until the moment I actually have to parent my kids. Case in point, the lock in.
Recently, my church held a lock in (or all nighter) that my oldest daughter wanted to go to. It was progressive, meaning they started at a bowling alley and then worked their way across the city from one fun event to another from 7PM until 7AM. My wife was all for it and I thought I would be too.
As a kid, I loved lock ins. As a parent, I knew the importance of giving my daughter freedom to do things like this with her friends. But I was still nervous. Widening the circle of relationships, influences and experiences is fun to talk about but hard to actually do.
It wasn’t necessarily that I feared my daughter’s safety, but I felt like we were sending her out into the unknown. At one point, I even talked about having my wife go as a chaperone. Fortunately, Jenny talked me out of this. But, the truth is, as you try to widen the circle with your kids, you might experience a surprising amount of self resistance. How do you combat it? Here are three ways:
1. Remember why you are doing it. Fear likes to focus on the negative, instead, remember the positive impact widening the circle can have for your kids.
2. Be honest about it. Telling Jenny my concerns, even though they were completely unfounded, helped me deal with them.
3. Expect it. Don’t get surprised by your concern, anticipate it and plan for it.
The lock in proved to be a huge success in the end. My church did an amazing job and L.E. got to do a month’s worth of fun things in one night with her small group. The circle got wider and maybe this dad even got a little braver letting his oldest daughter grow up a little bit.
About the Author:
Jon Acuff is the New York Times Bestselling author of 4 books. He lives in Nashville, TN with his wife and two daughters. Read more of his work at Acuff.me, StuffChristiansLike.net and follow him on Twitter @JonAcuff.
The Easy Way To Double The Fun You Have With Your Kids
by Jon Acuff
I don’t like to run, but I do like my pants fitting.
In order to enjoy that second thing I have to do more of that first thing.
A few times a week I go running, but sometimes my schedule gets really busy. Balancing my career, my family and my faith, sometimes feels like a juggling act.
I have two daughters, age 9 and 11, and a beautiful wife I’ve been married to for close to 14 years. I also have a new book that comes out this spring, you should order it right here, and a speaking schedule that takes me across the country.
I don’t have big swaths of free time in my calendar and need to be really smart about the ways I spend my hours. One trick I’ve had a lot of success with this year is simply inviting my kids into the things I am doing, like running.
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