Children are experts at finding good in everyday events of life. It was the Summer of 2011, and I was on a daddy daughter date with my girls at Coronado Bay. This happens to be one of my favorite places in the world. Coronado bridge is a massive, 2.1 mile structure that connects San Diego to the Coronado Peninsula. The five lane masterpiece is formed out of 94,000 cubic yards of concrete and 20,000 tons of steel. High arks allow navy ships to pass underneath and provide a breathtaking view for motorists. In 1969, when the Coronado bridge opened, it was the largest box girder bridge in the world.
Tidelands Park, located at the base of the bridge, is where our adventures began. Mackenzie, Brooklyn, and I trekked from from the Park to the Coronado Pier. Mackenzie rode her big-wheels as fast as her three-year-old legs would take her. I took long strides to keep up, as I pulled little Brooklyn in her Red Rider wagon. The three of us stopped at the bay just west of the pier to rest. Soon, Mackenzie, who is always on the lookout for adventure, took my hand and led me to the water’s edge. The two of us stepped in, getting our bare-feet wet. Soon, Mackenzie was happily splashing waist-deep in the water.
Fortunately, I was wise enough to have a second pair of clothes for the girls packed in the wagon. After Mackenzie’s was done exploring the water, the three of us crowded into a changing room stall and I helped the girls get into dry clothes. Suddenly, Mackenzie’s face lit up. Her index finger pointed to a breath-mint carelessly discarded on the floor. “Daddy is that a gift from the Easter Bunny?” Mackenzie asked joyfully.
Part of me wanted to gag. It’s a good thing dad is around to make sure she doesn’t eat that, I thought to myself. The other part of me delighted in my daughter’s childish wonder. In Mackenzie’s world, presents from the Easter bunny abound and are waiting to be found. Children are experts at finding good in life. Riding their big-wheels, an impromptu swim in the bay, the sun shining down on their face, an ice-cream cone, and a high-five; these simple pleasures generate a since of wonder. It’s unfortunate that us adults often loose this incredible capacity for joy with age.
When Finding Good Becomes Hard
For the past six years I have had the privileged of supporting families in discovering how to reclaim a since of wonder. When life’s storms hit it is easy to hone in on problems and forget about the blessings that surrounds us. Forgetting the good is a massive momentum drain. When this happens, problems appear bigger than they are, and routine tasks become a chore.
These are the desert seasons of life. The days feels dry, barren, and empty. But even the desert holds opportunities for finding good if we keep our eyes open to the possibilities. In the desert, far from the city lights that drown them out, the stars shine brilliantly. There is a quiet stillness that is refreshing and rejuvenating.
Jesus knows that value of childlike Joy. Mark 10:14 recounts a time when a group of children tried to visit Jesus but were turned away by the disciples. When Jesus heard about this He was indignant. Jesus insisted that the children come to Him. He used this as a teachable moment to instruct His disciples that God’s kingdom must be received like a little child.
Children are trusting. They are able to find joy in the simple moments of life. Children readily accept gifts without obligation to repay because they know that in adult-child relationships repayment is not possible. It is the same way with God. You and I are to receive Christ’s incredible sacrifice with open arms and childlike joy. It is the ultimate good, and it has been freely given.
Simple Strategies For Finding Good
When you are feeling down and out, finding good is not easy. The best way to accomplish this is to start small and build slowly. Finding good during life’s trials is as simple as:
- Breathing deeply and thanking God for your next breath.
- Feeling the warmth of the sun on your face.
- Stepping outside at dusk to watch the sun set.
- And taking your children to the park to participate in their awe and wonder.
For us parents, one of the best ways to find good is to participate in our children’s joy.
For the past two weeks my blog and next book have gone untouched. This was unplanned. Life became extra busy, and Jenny and I could have easily been swept a way into a barren desert of negative thoughts. Feelings of overwhelm loomed on the horizon. Fortunately, the past two weeks were one of those wonderful times when Jenny and I got things right. Instead of focusing on the challenges, we chose to find good instead.
Last weekend, Jenny and I took girls from one adventure to the next. We raced through a blow-up obstacle course at the local swimming pool. It was my first time on a floating obstacle course and we had a blast! Jenny challenged the girls to games of water basketball and swimming races. We fed the giraffe’s at the zoo, and had ski-ball competitions at Chuck-E-Cheese. It was a weekend of laughter, connecting, and child-like joy. By the end of the week finding good things to celebrate was easier than ever. The six of us honed in on life’s positives and we were reminded of just how much our family has to celebrate.
When Families Find Good
Psalm 8 illustrates how focusing on positives leads to renewed energy and strength. David begins and ends this glorious Psalm with the words, “Lord, our Lord, how majestic is your name in all the earth!”
There are two types of family leaders. There are those who radiate joy and those who devour joy. Be a family leader who radiates joy in your home by finding good things to celebrate every single day. Attitudes are contagious. Parents who radiate joy create a family culture of fun and peace in their home. A simple way to find good is to reclaim your childlike joy. Attempt to see the world though the eyes of your child, or through the eyes of a six-year-old you. Reclaim your since of awe and wonder. Approach Christ in prayer with a child-like faith, knowing that God is bigger than any problem, and capable of blessing your and your family in ways your cannot begin to imagine.
Questions For Rekindling Childlike Joy
- What is one of your favorite childhood memories, and why was this experience so joyful for you?
- What will you do to help your family create a culture of joy in your home this week?
- Are you and your family focused more on the positives or on the negatives?
- As a family, can you identify ten things that are going good this week?
I can’t wait to hear your thoughts in the comments below!
Family, Friendship, and Faith Link-Up
This link-up is an excellent place to meet new friends, network, and share your posts. Please feel free to include any family, friendship, and faith related posts. If you have time, please visit some of the other submissions, leave a comment, and make some new connections–after all, this is what teaming-up is all about!
Finally, I’d love it if you would grab a button for your site, or link back to the Family Friendship and Faith Fridays, link-up, in order to make it easy for others to join in!