A few days ago a friend of mine posted a video of the end of her son’s soccer match. Evidently it had been raining and all of the players decided to slide in the mud at the end of the game. In the background of the video you can hear parents starting to warn or yell at their kids not to join in the bedlam of mud sliding. I can just imagine what is running through their minds…”I don’t need that in my car”, “How am I going to get that mud out of the uniform?”, “What if they get sick from sliding in that stuff?”. And yet I also understood exactly what was going on in the minds of the players on the field, “THIS IS AWESOME”. And I wonder, what happened? What happened between us realizing how awesome it is to slide in a mud puddle to being more concerned about clothes, cars or anything else that really at the end of the day has no value. I’d like to think that if I was in that situation I would be tempted to join my kid in the melee. I would hope that I wouldn’t be so concerned about my khakis (who am I kidding, jeans) and my car’s interior that I wouldn’t jump right in. I would hope that I wouldn’t miss out on an eternal memory for temporal unimportant stuff.
It really is a matter of realizing what is important and what is not. In the closing of his letter to the church of Philippi, the writer says this, “Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things.” – Philippians 4:8. And I’ve seen this verse used to justify all sorts of stances, faith statements, creeds, etc. But I really find it more apt to relate to experience. Those experiences that are true, noble, right, pure, lovely, admirable, excellent, praise worthy…these are the experiences we should recall, dwell on and seek to recreate. No one could look at a kid playing in the mud and not realize that for the moment for that child that is one of the best experiences in the world. I don’t think a child will recall later in life how much they loved riding around in fresh pressed clothes and a clean car. But I do think they will probably remember the time you danced in the rain with them, or went down the big slide with them or had a shaving cream fight with them.
My point of all this is simple. Let the important things become the important things. Don’t let the expectations and schedules of life that really are temporal rob you of life’s really important things. The experiences that are true, noble, excellent and lovely. And for goodness sake, go slide in the mud with your kids!