Establishing a F-U-N Family Culture
- August 16, 2015
- Ashlee Johnson
This summer we’ve been working through a “popsicle list” (a.k.a. a bucket list) with our kids. We sat down with them and listed out all the fun things they wanted to do throughout the summer: visit our local kids’ science museum, get a treat from our neighborhood ice cream truck, have a bike wash, invite friends over for a cookout, take swimming lessons, make homemade popsicles, etc.
We’ve had a blast with the popsicle list; it’s an out-working of a little chant my husband started with the kids when they could barely talk. He asks, “How do you spell Johnson?!” and they exclaim, “F-U-N…fun, fun, fun!” (For the record, I’ll direct their teachers’ concerns with spelling skills to my husband.) He prompts them toward the “fun” chant after we’ve stopped at the park during a walk through our neighborhood, or when we grab one of the free cookies at the grocery store, or when we go on vacation. We try to take advantage of any occasion—large or small—to drive this belief home.
Before we had children, Barrett and I had many conversations about the kind of family culture we wanted to establish. Among other things, we decided to intentionally strive to make our family fun. This wasn’t simply because we want to be the “cool parents,” but it’s a value rooted in our theological convictions. We want to be fun because we believe God is fun. We know that God created us out of an overflow of joy and has made provision for our everlasting joy in Jesus. He is the author of celebration and commands us to celebrate. On a more practical level, we want our kids to enjoy our family. We want them to prefer bringing friends over to our house rather than running off to others’. Long into their adulthood, we want the kids to enjoy coming home.
Barrett and I are well aware that sowing seeds toward a fun family culture will cost us. There will be many trips to Costco to keep the pantry stocked with kid-friendly (and eventually teenage-friendly) snacks. There will be many hours spent brainstorming and strategizing and planning. We will be tired after exhausting our creative juices or spending a day at the waterpark, but these are negligible costs compared to the cost of losing connection with our kids. At the end of the day, we make this investment because we want them to know our good God.
My pastor taught on Psalm 8 yesterday. What a profound passage of Scripture! The King of Creation—the majestic and awesome One—has crowned us with glory and honor AND given us dominion over the works of His hands. Perhaps there is no more important place to exercise responsible reign over God’s creation than in parenting. I wholeheartedly believe that part of my role as a steward of Ethan and Annie is to bring the kingdom of God to bear in their lives by creating really fun, delightful experiences for them.
As parents we have much authority from God to shape the worldview of our little ones. Are we really the most fun parents on the planet? Decidedly, no. (We’re actually both classic Type A personalities and I’m really into a clean house. Surely, the super fun moms are more comfortable with chaos.) But are our kids convinced that our family is exceptionally F-U-N…fun, fun, fun? YES. We want to shape their perspective as such because we want them postured to expect joy from God. Not all of life is a carnival ride, and when trials come we want them to have a deep-rooted anticipation of God’s goodness. By God’s grace, our kids will be able to heed the exhortation of Paul, “Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, rejoice” (Phil. 4:4).
Learn more about Ashlee and invite her to your next event HERE.