Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Wholesome Recreation in Family

“Successful marriages and families are established and maintained on principles of faith, prayer, repentance, forgiveness, respect, love, compassion, work, and wholesome recreational activities.” (Family Proclamation)

I believe that wholesome recreation is one of the ways we can refresh our strength in our families.

The scriptures describe some incidents that, while they don’t specifically include those words “wholesome recreational activities,” could possibly include good family fun.

And after we had traveled for the space of many days, we did pitch our tents for the space of a time, that we might again rest ourselves and obtain food for our families. (1 Nephi 16:17, emphasis added)

For Lehi and his family, traveling must have involved a lot of labor, so staying in one place was rest. Today it is the opposite. Travel involves a lot of sitting, so a good way to rest from that is to do something active.

When my family went on long road trips, frequently we children got antsy and rambunctious in the car, so she adopted the practice of stopping every so often at playgrounds along the way so that we could release that pent up energy. Even today, we still like playgrounds.

The Book of Mormon also has at least one cautionary incident of which I am aware of about UNwholesome recreational activities.
And after we had been driven forth before the wind for the space of many days, behold, my brethren and the sons of Ishmael and also their wives began to make themselves merry, insomuch that they began to dance, and to sing, and to speak with much rudeness, yea, even that they did forget by what power they had been brought thither; yea, they were lifted up unto exceeding rudeness. (1 Nephi 18:9)
The dancing and singing was wholesome, but when they added rudeness and witty put-downs to the mix, they got themselves in trouble to the point that they began to be “lifted up” in pride, and forgot God’s power.

Here are some principles that I feel are part of WHOLESOME recreation (aka, principles of good fun):
  • Edifying
  • Build teamwork & trust
  • Build talents
  • Stretch the imagination and creative faculties
  • Involve conversation and doing things together
  • Are not at the expense of the ego of any family member
  • Can be rest for the weary (sedentary) or an outlet for pent up energy (active), but ultimately they are refreshing.
  • Can be spontaneous or planned

My memories of great family activities:
  • Spontaneous late-January trip to Disney world
  • Vacations that always had something crazy happen (causing me to start keeping a vacation log)
  • FHEs playing Dark Tag out in the yard
  • FHEs sorting photos and putting them all in photo albums
  • Family reunions at a YMCA camp for a weekend
  • Family work projects, like cleaning all the junk out of the hardware store Dad was going to turn into an orthodontic office
  • Tickle fights with dad
  • Decorating the Christmas ginger bread house
  • When dinner was crackers and about 6 different types of cheese
  • Playing Sardines
  • Riding go-carts
  • Spontaneous family sing-alongs
  • Family leaf-raking party after which everyone played in the big leaf pile
  • Going on flashlight walks on Sunday night
  • Playing tag on the kids castle playground
  • Playing in the mud puddles during a hard rain
The above pictures were taken a family reunion that met at a park.

Can you think of any other principles of wholesome recreation? What are some of your best memories of refreshing family fun?


Chas Hathaway said...

Oh boy, don't get me started! When my family gets together, we are constantly playing - inventing games and running around. We've talked about writing a book of all our games, because we have so many. Even at home, with my kids, we're always either playing make believe or having pillow-fights. I don't think I could survive without the whole wholesome recreation thing!


p.s. Playgrounds ARE awesome! We love playing a hot-potato like game where you have a ball (or any throwable item) which you can't hold for more than 3 seconds. You have to keep passing it around while running around on playground equipment. Did I mention that the ground is lava? You can't touch the ground. If the ball lands on the ground, you have to use whatever means possible to pick it up. If you can't reach it, someone has to be a sacrifice for someone else to climb out on top of them to get it.

If you touch the lava, you have to do a lap around the playground to get back in the game.

Jocelyn Christensen said...

How fun! I love your idea of a good time!