Lately, like many of you, my heart has been heavy. So many things in the headlines that bring sorrow. So many friends who are hurting. So many people to pray for.
I’m sure that you can relate. I’m sure that as I listed the items above, situations and people popped into your mind. I’m sure because we all live in the same global community, sharing the same stories of struggle and sadness, and hearing the same broadcasts of loss and disappointment.
I’m convinced that’s one of the reasons God gave us children.
Seriously, kids… kids have this whole approach to life that is incredibly present-oriented. They are in the moment. They live life to the fullest each second of the day.
C. S. Lewis, in his famous story The Screwtape Letters records a conversation between two demons who are trying to trip up some well-meaning Christians. In the book, part of the conversation focuses on how worry about the past and fear of the future keeps people from being fully present in the current moment.
“The Future is, of all things, the thing least like eternity. It is the most temporal part of time–for the Past is frozen and no longer flows, and the Present is all lit up with eternal rays.” – C. S. Lewis
In other words, the future has not yet happened; it is “unreality” as Lewis says in another place, and it keeps us distracted and worried. The past is done, it’s over, it cannot be changed and dwelling there keeps us frozen and unable to move forward.
But the present, the very moment we are in right now – that is where eternity dwells. God is present with us in this very moment.
Kids live like that. They’re too young for worry and too innocent for regret. They are fully present in each moment. And they live life in that moment to the fullest.
Yesterday, I took my son to the park and as I was pushing him on the swing, he let loose with the most amazing laughter; full, rich, carefree and healing. Like balm on my weary soul.
Laughter, the true, from-the-heart, can’t-hold-it-back laughter, flows so readily from the hearts of children. Admit it, when one of those videos comes up on Facebook with a child laughing, you can’t help it right? You have to laugh too! (Don’t believe me – click here)
And the Bible says that’s a good thing!
- Proverbs 17:22 – A joyful heart is good medicine, but a crushed spirit dries up the bones.
- Psalm 126:2 – Then our mouth was filled with laughter, and our tongue with shouts of joy; then they said among the nations, “The Lord has done great things for them.”
- Job 8:21 – He will yet fill your mouth with laughter, and your lips with shouting.
There truly is something healing about genuine joyful laughter. It is medicine for the soul. It declares the greatness of God. It fills our mouth so that it’s not filled with other things. And like the Teacher says in Ecclesiastes, “there is a time for mourning” but there is also a “time for laughter.”
Now, here’s the key thing about laughing – it’s not as much fun alone.
In fact, it’s not really all that great by yourself. Laughter is best shared with someone else. And, in my opinion, laughter with kids is the purest kind of laughter I know. Spending time with your children is the best way to ensure that you get to share in those moments.
Sadly the landscape of our society today makes that a little harder than in times past. Adults of different ages and children of all ages don’t get to spend a whole lot of time together. One sociologist, Mary Pipher (1999) said, “A great deal of America’s social sickness comes from age segregation…For our own mental and societal health, we need to reconnect the age groups.”
With that in mind, if your soul is feeling a little sick, maybe what you need to do is schedule in some time with a healer – a child – a laughing, present-oriented child who, I promise, can’t wait to spend time with you!
Go have fun. Just fun.
Swing on some swings. Walk through the woods. Play a silly game. Let your soul bathe itself in joy. Choose to put the future in God’s hands, leave the past in His grace, and live fully in the present moment with eternity.
Need some ideas? Check out these links for some simple ways to laugh with children.
- 8 Goofy Ways to make Kids Laugh
- 10 Ways to make your Kid Laugh
- 9 Things to do Every Day to make Your Kid Laugh
For more information about
- Kids in Worship
- Determining which Type of Family Ministry model works best for your church
- Discipleship in Intergenerational community
- Encouraging the continued conversation through Practical Discipleship at Home
- Seminars, Workshops, Coaching
About the author
Refocus Ministry was started by Christina Embree, wife to Pastor Luke, mom to three wonderful kids, and family minister at Nicholasville UMC. She is passionate about seeing churches partnering with families to encourage faith formation at home and equipping parents to disciple their kids in the faith. Currently studying Family, Youth and Children’s Ministry at Wesley Seminary, she also blogs at www.refocusministry.org and is a contributing blogger at D6 Family, Seedbed, and ChildrensMinistryBlog.com