I’m not sure what it is about kids and laundry baskets, but there is something both magical and alluring to a young one whenever that basket makes its way down to the living room floor.
A 3-Course Meal
First, there are those clothes – rarely do my kids ever play with unfolded clothes awaiting the time and attention of the folder. Usually, there is something about neatly folded and properly organized clothes and towels that a kid looks at and thinks “Been waiting for the invitation to play. Don’t mind if I do!” Then the unraveling begins. But, the destruction of the neat and tidy piles is just the appetizer. Second, we have the main course – the empty basket. This is where the brain begins to create and dream and the live action takes place. Is it a spaceship, a boat, a train, a train cart that has come dislodged and is careening to the edge of a cliff, is it a tiny prison (turned over, of course), or is it a mining cart scene from Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom? It’s almost too much to handle just to pick a scene – then comes the impending calamity or distress, followed by the blaze of glory death scene (that’s my Levi’s ending) or the spectacular hero saves the day scene (Zion always has happy endings). For Hadassah, it would involve a prince rescuing her, a tea party, and a dance to one of the songs from “Frozen,” while Kian wants to be where the most laughter and noise happens – he’s easy! Finn just screams loudly in approval or disapproval – I’m not sure yet. That’ll sort properly in due time.
From a parental viewpoint, I cannot recall how many pictures I’ve taken of the kids in the basket. They always catch my eye, make me laugh, and even though laundry inevitably needs to be re-folded and put back, it brings father-hearted joy. There are lessons to be taught by us and learned by them about responsibility and what not to do with those clothes, but that is just gonna be a part of life. I won’t shrink back from training my children, but I want to enjoy the adventures our life brings – as we go out there into this world and as we hang out at home.
I want life to be an adventure – I think we’re made for it. I look at Genesis and God told Adam to name all the animals, be in charge of them (and all the earth), reproduce (have kids, raise them well, and have them be in charge of the earth…), and enjoy leading this amazing thing called creation.
For the dessert portion of that laundry basket full course meal, there is the theme park moment. I say moment, because kids usually get one well-timed shot at that long staircase ride prior to us wise parents finding them. There was such a great benefit of being raised in a small Texas town in the 70s because we were latchkey kids who had hours and hours of staircase rides, jumping out of second floor windows into the pool, and BB gun wars indoors while our parents were still at work.
Good Good Life
I mean come on – we need to enjoy this life. We have a God who made it all. We have a King who died for us who is in the process of redeeming it all. We are invited into life with Him to be used by King Jesus to take part in the redemption of all things. And – while we are here, awaiting His triumphant return, we get the presence of the Holy Spirit in our daily lives as our comfort and counsel. That’s a really great life, in spite of what the world struggles with and despite those who speak gloom and doom quite frequently.
A few weeks ago, as I was working on a sermon, the Lord very clearly showed me the importance of using my words as a dad. In essence, He showed me that there will always be opportunities to teach my kids about “not grabbing and messing up the folded laundry”. The opportunities to teach them will present themselves plenty. And He clearly let me know this is hugely important – I am called to train my kids how they are to live (there’s a promise that goes with that). I’m guessing – and it’s not a difficult guess – that my Father was showing this dad that I need to refocus and enjoy those laundry basket moments for what they are: Pure Fun. Sheer Joy. Adventure. It’s infectious, too. And I need a good reminder every now and then. My kids will always learn from me, and they will remember what they learn and apply it to their growth and character. But they will fondly remember and retell those stores that had moments to cherish. Those are the stories that stick.
Drawing A Crowd
The kids having the most fun draw the crowds. I see it all the time with mine, and because I have 5, I see it with a lot of other kids. There can be a kid, a couple of them, or a group enjoying what they are doing – then there is this loud belly laugh or some kid being tossed around on a trampoline or the reenactment of a touchdown catch to win the Super Bowl for the Steelers (okay – that’s what I do, but it’s really exciting and it does draw crowds who want to celebrate with an end zone dance!) – and the other kids want to be a part of it. They want to play. Greater joy draws people to it. Think about it – your smile, your countenance, your excitement over being called into life by a Redeemer King, the joy of knowing that you will live in eternity with the One who created everything. That draws people to you – to Him in you. They want to play, er, join in on what you have. And you get to tell them about Jesus, tell them about the One who is hope, who is the most joyful person to ever walk this earth, and who invites them into life with Him.
Live A Lot
If Jesus was truly the happiest, most joy-filled person to ever live here, we need to be this wherever God places us – in our workplaces, at home, while working out or going for walks with other moms, when we take time to help a neighbor build a shed or clean out the basement. In everyday life, we need to live full of joy. And use our words while living – they are a fountain of life. People love to drink of the good stuff.
Written by: Scott Frerking