Tantrums. Discipline. Coaching. Establishing good eating habits. Potty-training. Bed-time routines. What do all these words have in common? (Other than mental exhaustion.) These are the day-to-day concerns of parents. Specifically parents who are knee-deep in the process of raising babies, toddlers and pre-schoolers. Which we are. So, because our days can seem tedious and mundane, we recently started a “Diverting Daily” challenge. Here’s how it started:
Almost weekly we get together with other couples to share a meal, conversation, prayer and encouragement. Between us there are also 6 children under age 4 (it can get loud and chaotic – but it’s always a highlight in our week). As we were gearing up for the late spring/early summer season we started asking what was the one thing that the group could benefit from the most. And it was clear: parenting encouragement. And not just encouragement, but inspiration (new ideas!) and a safe place to discuss the insecurities, worries and frustrations that are inevitable in this season of life. So, we started a series called “Love Powered Parenting.” In the first week there was an encouragement to DIVERT DAILY.
The idea is that every day we need to step back from the routine, the mundane, the never-ending task list and do something out of the ordinary. Something that will delight our kids. Something that will cause us to stop stressing, stop “working” and just enjoy our children (and life!) Because our group has a couple of individuals who are very task oriented (myself especially), this has been an excellent challenge. I encourage you to think: what is it that my kids would be surprised and delighted with?
Eating dinner in the living room?
Stopping for ice cream while on the way home from _____?
A later bedtime (because you’re doing an activity together)?
Being in the kitchen with you (or the garage, or the craft room)?
A trip to the toy store, the beach, to the farm, to a play or movie?
And maybe you don’t have children. Maybe it’s just you and your spouse. Or perhaps you’re single. This is an everyday challenge for you as well:
Do you always throw on jeans and a t-shirt before heading out the door? Dress up
Pick up fresh flowers to brighten up your kitchen table
Go out instead of staying in (or reverse that if you go out often)
Forget the dishes/laundry – watch an old, favorite movie and laugh until you cry
Read a magazine instead of the “how to” book that you’ve been avoiding anyway
Bake cookies for dessert just because
Plan a surprise date night (no special reason needed)
Listen to different music (find a new station on Pandora – no cost – you might just stumble on a new favorite artist!)
On your way home go out of your way to see something different. Stop at a park or a scenic spot and take a picture of a spectacular moment: a sunset, a building, an old car. Savor that moment.
We have actually turned it into a game, with who can come up with the more random, creative, perfect-for-our-kids idea. And some days we have forgot. And other days we must adhere to a more strict schedule. But overall, we’ve had a blast!
The bottom line is that we are far too busy. And when I say “we” I mean “most people”. The most common responses when asked, “how was your week?” “BUSY!”
Why? Because we have made it so. And we have not been intentional enough to divert daily.
So, let me know, what have you been doing to divert daily? And how has that made your life more filled with joy?