Staying sane at children’s birthday parties and in other parts of life

today I survived my daughter’s 7th birthday party.

In fact, I more than survived, I enjoyed myself.

Now, before you panic, don’t worry- we still had the obligatory games and high pitched shouting, and those weren’t my favourite moments, but I enjoyed myself overall.

Maybe it had something to do with the fact that it was a climbing party, and I used to be a climbing instructor. Quite possibly. Maybe to do with the fact that my daughter asked me if she could have a climbing party and we (along with Mrs baldvicar) have spent a fair while planning the whole shebang together. Possibly. Maybe something to do with the fact that there was some food that adults could and did eat. An important factor. Maybe the fact that we had some help (thank you in-laws) and were obliged to be fairly laid back (thank you 6wk old son).

Probably all these things and more played their part, but the bottom line is, I enjoyed the party, and so the clear up was ok too. And you know what? I’m thinking that is a good way to do this family thing- whatever we do, lets try to make sure we’re doing it together, and try to enjoy ourselves.

Bedtime routine for the kids, for example. If I can remember to try and enjoy it rather than just get through to the other side, maybe I’d be less stressed and grouchy? Not sure, but its worth a try.

Helping the kids to understand things that are important- you know, how to behave at meals, how to treat people, how to be a spiritually alive human… some things are more important than others, but they can all be stressful or enjoyable.

And maybe, just maybe, I could try that with other people too (not the helping them understand how to behave at meals, the other stuff). Maybe I could be more consciously encouraging people to enjoy faith- to have fun worshipping God, praying and reading the Bible. If you’re reading this- here’s a little challenge. Think of something you really enjoy doing- a pastime, something that helps you feel fully alive. Ok? Well, it should be possible to feel that alive, that happy, when you’re worshipping God or serving God (yes, I know, they should be the same thing, but in practice for most of us there’s a pretty big divide). So give it a try- if you’re inclined to pray, you could ask God to help you enjoy being in His presence… and then just go for it.

I know that live contains suffering, I know I’ll face it and have to deal with various forms of grief, but the bottom line is whether I let that define me, or will I be defined by my hope and trust in God. Will I choose to live or simply survive- enjoy the party or just wait until its time to go home?

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