When life presses in and responsibilities mount up, it’s easy to become overwhelmed by the details of running our homes and families. We forget to slow down and enjoy the gifts all around us. During isolation as well as in normal life, it’s good to intentionally look for ways to cultivate delight in and with our children.
“Delight” is a strong feeling of happiness, pleasure, or satisfaction. What makes you ooh and aah? What taste, smell or sight makes you smile? Invite your children to enjoy these with you! Stop together to notice the first flower of spring, the smell of fresh bread, or the speed of a motorcycle. This builds bonds of enjoyment together and deepens your relationship.
God's incredible creativity is expressed in the world around us. We acknowledge his goodness and help our children take a fitting and grateful posture when we delight in his creation together. Saying, “Thank you, God, for the blue sky!” and “How did God think up so many different insects!?” cultivates hearts of worship and gratitude.
SAY IT OUT LOUD
What do you enjoy in your child? How did God make them unique? Look for daily opportunities
to speak words of affirmation about who they are, perhaps first thing in the morning (“Good morning! It’s nice to see your happy face today”) and last thing at night (“Sleep well, my kind son”). Psalm 149:4 says, “For the Lord takes pleasure in his people.” When we delight in our children, we’re helping them know God better and recognize his love for them.
MAKE DELIGHT A HABIT
Whether your family prefers planned routines or spontaneous fun, try some creative ideas and see what you enjoy together. For example:
Start a new after-dinner activity (music and dance time, writing on a “thankful for” poster)
Explore beauty together (paint a rock, discover a favorite painting or artist online, take pictures of sunrises/sunsets)
Call for a spontaneous family game of hide-and-seek
Hold a cupcake or cookie baking/decorating contest, giving awards for each participant (i.e., Most Colorful, Best New Flavor, Most Sparkly, etc.)
Make your daily walk a treasure hunt for special things (“Look at this cool leaf God made!”)
Author Andree Seu Peterson suggests, “Delight is the most useless of things. It doesn’t get the house clean or the bills paid. Useless—like flowers. Like rainbows. Like Beethoven’s Ninth…Delight covers a multitude of parenting shortcomings. You may be too strict or too lenient and still come out all right, if you delight in your children.”*
The memories that stand out as special for children are often not the ones we expect. In our family, they were simple times of mutual delight—sharing a pillow while on bedrest to read a favorite book, after-dinner family bike rides that never went quite as planned, or drives in the country squealing together over hilly roads. In this challenging season, when we're tempted to distraction or worry, making time for laughter and delight helps create happy memories that may last a lifetime.
*Andree Seu Peterson, “Uselessness of Delight.” World, 2007.
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