Skip to main content

Stress? Try Play!



Parenting is one of the most difficult things many of us will ever do.  We stress over the lives of our kids, just hoping that we don't mess them up forever.  Despite this, did you know that parenting makes you happier?  A study conducted by UC Riverside (universityofcalifornia.edu) shows that parents have better "well-being" scores than those without kids.  These measures include things like happiness, stress, satisfaction, and symptoms of depression.  Interestingly, while all parents score better in these areas, father's scores improve the most.  

One researcher suggested that this may be connected to the fact that fathers tend to report more play time with their children.  This reminds me of a tenant we recently had in our Airbnb upstairs.  The mother and the kids stayed in the home all day, but they were so quiet we barely knew they were there.  As soon as the dad returned from work though, we knew it.  For at least 30-45 minutes we heard little feet running around, loud shouts, and thumps as they rough-housed with their father as a welcome home.  It put a smile on my face just hearing the sounds of play and laughter upstairs.  

Another potential answer is suggested in much of the work of psychologist Jordan Peterson.  Peterson claims that in taking on more responsibility we find meaning, and in meaning we find well-being.  I hesitate to say happiness because I think Peterson would find the idea of happiness fleeting and fickle.  Peterson suggests some deeper need being met by finding meaning in responsibility.  

Either or both suggestions could be true.  Either way the study reminds us to find the joy in this meaningful task of parenting.  It reminds us that all the hard worth is worth it, and that we should slow down and enjoy it a little.  Take a little time today to set aside the to-do list, and just PLAY as a celebration with your kiddos for the life lived together.  Enjoy the Art of  being a Family!

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

Death Will Lose it's Sting

Our reading from the Narrative Lectionary this week is 1 Corinthians 15:51-57. In these verses, Paul reveals a mystery, that in the end some will be transformed, given a new body, instead of facing death.  In other words death is not one of life's two certain terms.  It seems taxes may be the only guarantee.   "...in this world nothing can be said to be certain, except  death and taxes ." - Benjamin Franklin. Ok, all jokes aside, these verses are difficult to read.  Paul looks forward to a time when death will have no victory, it will have lost its sting.  But today, we are in the middle of a pandemic, surrounded by death.  Many are scared for their lives, or their loved ones, and too many have already been lost.  Death does not seem to have lost its sting at all, it feels as if it is closing in. When I worked in wilderness therapy I remember holding a child who was desperately trying to kill himself.  We cried together as he struggled to end it, and I struggled

Refusal to Return

The last cycle of The Hero's Journey begins with what Campbell calls "The Refusal of the Return".  In this stage the hero has finished their quest and won their award, but now they are faced with the idea of returning to their place of origin.  They struggle with the idea of leaving paradise, or sharing their wisdom with their old community.  After being changed so much, do they even still belong in the place they came from? In The Lord of the Rings, after Frodo has tossed the ring into the fire and the battle is won, he is so tired he wants to give up, there is nothing left driving him to return home, so he lays down and prepares to die.  Then, when the party regroups in Gondor, they linger there for a long time before each returns to their homeland.  Finally, when Frodo does return home, he is uncomfortable, he feels out of place, and wants to leave.  He has changed and realizes that he no longer belongs in the Shire.  After Christ's resurrection he met with Mary fi

The Return Threshold

  As we come near the end of our weekly series on the Hero's Journey, today we will cover "The Return Threshold".  In this stage, the Hero has succeeded in their quest and now they are coming back to their old world.  Joseph Campbell calls this the "ordinary world".   The return to the ordinary world usually includes some type of challenge.  Sometimes an enemy must be challenged, but sometimes the enemy is the ordinary world itself.  As we have followed the hero's journey we have seen the hero change, what was once important is no longer important.  While the hero has changed, the ordinary world has not.  The ordinary world holds values that the returning hero has abandoned for something greater.  This can cause tension as the hero tries to return as a changed person. In the Lord of the Rings trilogy, we see the Hobbits finally return to their home in the Shire.  Unfortunately in their absence Saruman and his orcs have taken over the Shire and must be defeat