FEBRUARY 28

Fun and Games

A joyful heart is good medicine. PROVERBS 17:22

Everyone knows about the prestige of the Nobel Prize, an award given to those who make significant political, scientific and literary contributions to the cause of peace and human understanding. (It's named, ironically, for the inventor of TNT. He wanted to be remembered for something constructive rather than destructive.) But perhaps you've never heard of the Ig Nobel Awards. These prizes are given for achievements that "first make people laugh, and then make them think." Among recent honorees are those who have studied the following:

•How to stop hiccups
•Why woodpeckers don't get headaches
•Why people dislike the sound of fingernails screeching on a blackboard
•Why dry spaghetti often breaks into more than two pieces when you bend it
•How many photographs a person must take to ensure that nobody in a group photo will have their eyes closed

One of my favorites was the 2006 winner in the "peace" category. He earned his Ig Nobel for inventing an electro-mechanical teenager repellent, a device that makes an annoying noise audible to teenagers but not to adults. (In the interest of fair play, he used the same technology to create cell-phone ring tones that could be heard by teenagers but not by their teachers.)

All this to say: Don't feel like the only way you can cause your children to think and engage with you is through serious teaching. Bring up a wacky topic at the dinner table one night and see where the conversation goes. Get them thinking about making good choices over a game of Twister. Examine the creativity of God by asking them how many different faces they can make.

One of the greatest, most satisfying parts of parenting is learning how to make good use of fun. Laughter is God's lubricant for the soul. Fun reduces friction when a parent wants to get an important truth in his or her child's heart.

Learn to laugh. A lot!

DISCUSS 
When would be some of the best times to incorporate instructive fun into your family's schedule? Brainstorm something goofy that your kids would love for a family night.

PRAY
Pray that your hearts will be cheerful and fun-loving. There's a lot of life that can really wear you down. 

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