Several years ago our son Jonathan, who was ten at the time, went to a minor league baseball game nearby with a friend and his dad. When Jonathan came home, he had quite the story to tell:
“After the game, Mr. Simon was driving, and all of a sudden, the car started acting funny. He pulled into Atz’s Ice Cream, with the car chugging and gurgling, and said that he guessed we had to get ice cream since the car broke down in front of the place. Then, you know what, Mommy? We went in and got ice cream and came back out—and it started right up. It wasn’t broken after all. Mr. Simon just did it for a joke—to take us to get ice cream!”
I smile every time I think of that story—and of the surprising creativity or creative “surprizisity” of that dad. Of course, it would have been easier, faster, and cheaper to just go home from the game. He had already put in his evening of “dad time,” after all. But he knew that it would warm two little boys’ hearts to go get ice cream—and the car “breaking down” would just add an element of surprise and fun to top off the evening.
We have tried to make our home almost as fun and entertaining as it is spiritual and educational. We have always felt that if we want our kids to want to be here with us, we need to be fun and, yes, even entertaining, at times. (Or at least provide fun and entertainment for them.)
Surprises do not have to cost money. Sometimes they are as simple as doing something ordinary in an extraordinary way—like making pancakes with cookie cutters or eating dinner on the living room floor. Other times, when funds allow, something more elaborate is surprising and fun (and even more surprising if it is something that you do not normally do or cannot usually afford). Being creative, spontaneous, and fun will endear our children to us tremendously. There is no reason why a Christian home should not be filled with love, stability, joy, spiritual emphasis—and spontaneous, surprising fun.