Lately I’ve been paying attention to the words people use when they talk about why they do things. Why their kids take a particular class over another; why certain outings are embarked upon; why they do errands and chores.
And you know what? Almost never does anyone say “We do it because it’s fun.” I hear a lot of “We thought the kids should try it,” or “We think it’s important,” or “We hope they’ll learn something”; or when it comes to chores and errands, the inevitable “We have to…” Sometimes people say, “She likes the class,” and every so often I hear, “We thought it would be fun,” often followed by the word “but”.
It’s as though having fun is not a good enough reason. It also has to be educational, or good exercise, or productive somehow and then it’s best not to mention the fun part, or at least leave it till the end of the discussion. Make sure people know that your activity has a purpose first, and then maybe you can mention that you had fun doing it.
There seems to be a huge fun deficit in most peoples’ lives. Even kids. Everyone is so busy doing the things they think they have to do, should do, need to do that they never get around to doing something just for the fun of it.
In my opinion one of the best things about unschooling is the permission it gives us to have fun and not worry whether or not we’re doing enough educational activities. Life is an educational activity, and you learn even more when you’re having fun.
Fun can happen anywhere – during an impromptu outing to the bookstore or at the Magnolia Bakery or while taking silly photos & videos. Fun can happen in our living room, watching TV. We had HUGE fun last night watching the Giants win the Superbowl. We don’t follow football (at least not the American kind). And I mean not at all. But if a New York team gets to the Superbowl, we watch. And for those 3 or 4 hours, we enjoy it and we cheer and – the last two times its’ happened, at least – we love watching them win. Yay for the Manning family! Yay for all those guys whose names we don’t know but for whom this is the realization of their dream! Yay for New York! It’s FUN to watch people realize their dreams. It’s joyful, even.
The naysayers can disagree and point out all the negatives. They always do. They might think my kids would be better served to turn off the TV and do something educational. They might disagree with my refusal to sign them up for classes against their will and my willingness to allow them to pursue their interests unimpeded.
But there is laughter in our house every day. There is fun. There is joy. Yes, we have negative things in our lives because everyone does. When those things muscle their way to the forefront it isn’t fun. But Joshua and I made a decision not to let negative rule our lives.
Doing something for the fun of it isn’t just a good reason, it’s the very best reason.