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Thursday, January 13, 2011

Fun, Fun, Fun... All The Time?


It's been two weeks and this precious girl has melded beautifully into our family. She's a big sister to Baby Charlotte, a little sister to Madeline, a faithful friend and great playmate to Davis and Joseph and a daughter -- a real daughter!! to Dan and me.

But here's the thing -- our Hannah seems a little confused by the American way of life. While it may be perfectly normal for young American children to wake up in the morning, hang out in their jammies, eat some breakfast, eventually get dressed and then play the day away, that pattern is sort of weird to the rest of the world, even children. Hannah enjoys playing with her brothers and sisters but she's just not comfortable with the idea of simply "hanging around" all day. She's used to working and serving and spending her day in purposeful, necessary ways with perhaps a little time for play. Here in America it's the exact opposite scenario; our children play and relax and watch cartoons and entertain themselves (or have someone entertain them) with perhaps a few light "chores" here and there. There is no water to fetch, no fields or cattle to tend to, no pan of dishes to clean, no washboard for scrubbing clothes. It's just fun, fun, fun all the time.

Hannah doesn't really want fun, fun, fun all the time. When I get out the broom, she is begging to help. After dinner, she sticks by my side until the very last crumb is wiped from the table. She loves helping with laundry and dishes and jumps at any opportunity to simply be useful. She just seems to think all the free, idle time is kind of weird.

This is just an observation, I don't really know what I'm trying to say about all this -- except that I think I am inclined to agree with little Hannah. When you think about it, this is kind of a weird way to spend so much time, and I confess that it makes me wonder what I'm really teaching my children with this typical American way of life.

One of my goals for this year is to be more intentional about the way my children spend their time. I'm all for playing and laughter and kids being kids. But I'm also for having children who understand that free time and playtime is a luxury and not a God-given right for every minute of every day.


Chasity said...

Sweet Hannah! Melts my heart. And yes, I understand what you mean about our typical lifestyle, even in this.

The Fruitful Family said...

I totally get that. Can I drop off my four?

Shauna said...

Our son from Uganda thinks we are nuts, when we have jammie days - he hates it - still - and he has been home for a year. Funny for me to hear others have the same issue with "hangin' out". :) [probably right about the time he is a teen and I want him up and working, he will embrace it:)] lol

Alison said...

She is such a precious little girl! And it sounds like she is a great helper too!

Charlotte said...

Chap and I both read your post (at different times) and all day long as we have gotten our kids to clean rooms, pick up and help with chores we have both said -"wish they had a heart like Hannah's "

Hope you are all doing well