Default: theirs and mine

One day as I was trying to get the kids ready to go somewhere--- which always seems to be an extremely Long and Trying Process at our house, and one in which I'm usually exasperated at my children who want to play or goof around instead of getting on their hats and coats and shoes or boots, or in which I'm usually exasperated by the child (not always the same child, mind you) who is not at all ready while the rest of us are standing at the door ready to go--- I had a thought.

It was simply this:

Their 'default' is play.

It's the way God created them, these children of mine.  And it's a good and beautiful thing.  They naturally, inherently just want to play.  (My personal default happens to be work, hence the exasperation on my part.)

My boys in their room together-- with clear instructions to clean their room-- will inevitably end up in some drama or giggles or play-fighting or jumping or climbing or a dumping out of a toy bin in order to build or play something.  That's just the way they were made.  They look for it, they celebrate relationship with each other by playing together.  Any two of my children who pass by one another in the process of doing their individual chores will interact with each other on some level and that will lead to a disruption of my personal work-default and an entry into their default of play.  If I want to leave the house, and right now, please, or we're going to be late!-- one of them will find something to do instead of getting their shoes on and will end up sitting comfortably on the floor, playing.   It puzzles me, truly- and I usually think it's absurd:  Hello?  We are leaving.  As in, now.  Do you see us?  How could you possibly be [sockless, shoeless, coatless] and PLAYING right now?

And yet: it's their default.

Now- I'm not eschewing obedience or my desire and intention for my children to learn responsibility and a good work ethic.  I want those things, and we are fully in the process of teaching our kids those things.  But it is helpful for me to remember that it is a process.  They are firmly, cheerfully situated in their God-given play-mode and it will take years of gentle, faithful, patient instruction and our own example to teach them and show them that there is real joy to be found in work-- and in the reward of getting to play when your work is finished.

In the meantime, I am finding great joy in observing their playfulness-- in everything they do, and I'm marveling- truly- at their ability to pause in any given moment and laugh and play and relate to one another, forsaking all work.  I think I could (re)learn to do a good deal more of that myself.  I am- more often- settling my exasperated self with the truth of how God has designed them, and by realizing that more often than not- they've gotten it exactly right.


  1. Amen! This a gem, girl! Thanks for pointing my heart toward my kids and how God made them. It is such a joy to see them LOVE to play, laugh and enjoy whats right in front of them. I am always thinking down the rode and often missing the now...working on that one.

    Thanks for writing this out!

  2. This is so well put, Stacy! Thank you for sharing. :)

  3. makes you want to slow down and play more, huh!

    Hope your December is filled with a new default (maybe it is time to reset?)

    mama to 8
    one homemade and 7 adopted

  4. Stumbled upon your blog and have enjoyed reading into your story. I am a foster mom and love any chance to gain encouragement and inspiration within this journey.
    Keep shining!

  5. you are such an amazing mama. Ilove that even with 5 kids and a few 'non-babies' who are still noticing and learning about them. thanks for the encouragement.
    I read Different Childern Different Needs and realized that my oldest is People Oriented and Slow Speed while I can shift into TASK oriented and Fast when I ask her to do a Task Fast....she gets all gummed up...yes she's learning to focus and obey...but it's hard.


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