I have done a lot of writing about belonging, and how important it is for kids to feel they have a place where they are loved and accepted for who they are. I’ve spent lots of time discussing the importance of freedom, and the dangers of being a helicopter parent that deprives their child of experiences that lead to learning and independence. This is closely intertwined with the basic need for power as well, because as parents, we all want our kids to be successful. So, we spend hours reminding our kids to get their homework done and helping them study for tests. And in the remaining hours of the evenings, we ensure they are developing other skills by enrolling them in a variety of extra-curriculuar activites from sports to music lessons.
But what about fun?
Fun is the fourth psychological need that William Glasser identifies as necessary to find balance and happiness in life. I think for most of us, we can see how belonging, freedom and power are important. But fun really gets a bad rap.
We talk about having time for fun when the work is done.
We talk about having fun as a reward for achievement.
When we take the time to have fun, we feel guilty for “wasting” time.
I remember my husband saying to me when our children were small, and I was choosing bedtime stories to read to them that every book didn’t need to teach a lesson. “You know, honey, some people like to just read something that’s fun!”
I have felt pretty out of sorts recently, and I couldn’t put my finger on why. I’ve got a pretty good routine going lately: I’m getting out and accomplishing my exercise goals before work. I’m part of a team at my workplace that I feel so blessed to be a part of, and we are doing important things together. I have a family that I love with all my heart. And in the evenings, I’m plowing away at the last course I need in order to complete my master’s program. Everything is going great – so why am I feeling off?
Then I realized – where’s the fun?
If my life were to end tomorrow, would I have regrets? Would I feel like I hadn’t taken the time to really appreciate the time I have with my family? Would I feel like I didn’t laugh and get silly often enough? Did I crank the music and dance enough? Have I really enjoyed my life, or have I lost sight of a key part of feeling complete?
What about you?