Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Have Fun!

Not too long ago, as I was dropping my darlings off at school, I waved good-bye and hollered sweetly after them, "have fun!" as is my habit any time I leave my children to do something without me.  But this time I was struck by what a strange statement this was.  Why is it that my parting words to my children are always, "have fun?"  Is that really the very best and greatest wisdom that I have to give them as they leave the shelter of my arms to face the perilous world out there?

on the other hand, if I didn't tell my children to have fun, would the forget?  Would they have an awful time, just because I forgot to tell them to have fun?  What a rediculous statement!  I put it in the same box as statements like "drive safe!" and "take care!"  When people tell me things like that, I know that they're trying to express kind thoughts, but I want to reply, "Wow! I'm so glad you told me to drive safe!  I was planning to drive recklessly and crash into a tree, but because you told me to drive safe, I'm certainly going to change those plans." 

But back into the world of mommyisms:  It would make sense that whatever final words I give to my children on a regular basis would emphasize what I value. Is having fun my greatest value? Is it the one thing that I want my children to think about and remember through the day? I don't think so. 

Therefore,  regardless of whether it will actually change my children's behaviors or actions, I want my words to be full of meaning and purpose.  And so I am on a quest to change this very meaningless little phrase that I frequently say to my children  into something more intentional.

So... what are my values?  What would I like to instill in my children's subconscious little hearts? 
My mom and I have been talking about the importance of teaching children to value and enjoy hard work. I've been trying out, "Work hard!" It doesn't quite feel right. 
Probably my number one value is kindness.  Should I say "Be kind"?
or perhaps, "love well!"
or maybe "be kind, love well, work hard and have fun! --and while I'm at it, don't forget all those other things I've been trying to teach you!--and I love you!"

this reminds me of the very funny mom song that I think i've posted here before.  Maybe I should just play that as my kids are running out the door.
What do you think?  What would you say?


Swanson's Class said...

I like this Kari. Good food for thought. Thanks! I'm going to pay attention to what word I use. I never thought of it.

Alvarez Family said...

Taken from one of my pastor's sermons...I have started saying to the girls "remember whose kid you are!", having explained to them one time beforehand that they are God's children and should live accordingly (that's also what we pray about before they leave).

Karina said...

I love that Ruth!! --of course, with proper explanation. --my mom grew up hearing that, but it was not meant about God, it was meant about her earthly dad. & she's still bitter about it. :)

the discussion is also going on on Facebook that it doesn't matter what you say. they'll live out what they've been taught. i agree completely. but it still doesn't seem right to leave them with a simple "have fun" rather than something more meaningful. but i've got to yell something. just because i'm the Mom. maybe it should just be a simple "I love you" as my friend April said.

then again, if I yell some sort of instruction, when they're grown up, they can say, "my mother always said..."
--maybe *that's* what i should yell: "if you don't have any thing nice to say, don't say anything at all!" or "don't run with scissors!" or "if you keep making that face it will stick like that!" :)

Alvarez Family said...

Oops. Sorry about your mom and the bitter memory! Too bad.

I disagree that it doesnt matter what you say. It's quite pessimistic and also not Biblical. If it doesn't matter what is said, then hello, why the Bible? :)

Maybe you should come up with something different every day just to be funny.

You make me laugh. :)

~just me~ said...

hah. :) thanks ruth. i think that's a great idea. if i change it every day, they'll listen! :)

Tonya said...

I like the idea of saying something different every time. "Don't pick your boogers", "be kind", "use proper table manners", "smile", ...

Actually, I usually tell me kids "don't have any fun!" They always laugh and say, "MOM". :-)