Sometimes, I drudge through a few days. I’m tired and possibly short on patience, and really, the last thing I feel like doing is homeschooling. Finding joy or anything that might resemble joy seems impossible.
Some days are just like that and maybe we think moving to Australia would help, but I find that when I am in a rut or just too tired, the key is to infuse my day with moments of joy (at least a few prolonged minutes here and there). I certainly don’t mean you have to feel joyful or delightfully giddy with happiness. That’s sometimes hard, especially if calamities, illness, or grief is upon your family or friends. However, even just one joyful moment in a day can help the morale.
1. Lean on God
For my family, leaning on God in difficult times helps. Finding time to bask in the Word, even when I don’t feel like making the time to do so, is incredibly important. But there are times when reading or praying seem to leave me filled with empty, as if God hasn’t heard me. I know He has; yet, it doesn’t feel like it. Ever feel like that? Anyway, when that happens, I need to find God in the details. So, I pack the kids up in the car and we go for a nature walk and immerse ourselves in the wonder that God created. We go slow and pause to ponder silky spiderwebs, dew drops on the grass, and ice crystals in the mud. As G.K Chesterton states, “I would maintain that thanks is the highest form of thought; and that gratitude is happiness doubled by wonder.” Perhaps that is why being in nature restores my soul so much; I can’t help but be thankful and filled by wonder when observing nature.
2. Smile, Hug, and Be Silly
Finding what makes your family a joyful one isn’t hard. All it takes is a smile, even if it is a little on the wane side. Add a hug and a sprinkle of silly, and your kids will instantly be filled with joy. Their joy will trickle into you and you’ll feel a tad energized, too. Silliness is something I struggle with. I easily find silver linings to everything, but I lean toward the serious side, not the silly side and what my kids adore is the silly. When something hard happens, it can take a while for me to bounce back and be able to get into the silly mode. So, when I am tired and just want to be napping, or when I don’t feel like answering a barrage of questions, I look my children in the eye and smile at them, tell them I love them, and give them a ginormous hug, and try to make up a silly song or rhyme, or at least give them a few attacks from the tickle monster. I am sure in a few years, they’ll have outgrown those silly tricks, but for now, this works.
Maybe you have older kids who eschew the tickle monster. The smile and hug still should work. Find out what makes your family joyful and try to fit in one of those activities during the week.
3. Make a Joyful List
What activities do you do with your family that reminds you how much you love being a family? Make a list. Hang it on your fridge. When you are having a rough week, choose one thing from the list and go do it.
Our joyful list:
Nature hikes and time in nature
Doing art together
Snuggling on the couch when Mom reads books
Any silly song
Life of Fred math
Taking time to play pretend and make-believe games with the kids
What brings joy to your family?