This past Memorial Day weekend our family did what many homeowners do to usher in the beginning of the warmer summer months.  We found ourselves pulling out the patio furniture, mowing the lawn, making repairs to our old shed, potting plants and we had the sore muscles to prove it.  At some point, though, we knew we needed to stop and just rest and have some fun.  Fortunately, we have a teenage daughter to help keep us in line, so we headed to the beach for a gorgeous day.  We watched a colony of yellow-beaked grey herons nesting in the bay, we walked and sat on the beach and read to our heart’s content, strolled in and out of boardwalk shops and enjoyed a meal together.  We came away as a family, we talked and laughed together, we had fun.

In his book, Don’t Sweat The Small Stuff With Your Family, Richard Carlson encourages families to stay playful and enjoy life together. I have found this to be true in my life and family. When I look back over the years the fondest memories are not about keeping the house clean, making sure the lawn is trimmed and paying the bills but the crazy fun moments we’ve experienced together. Some of these are planned, like having a family night or taking in a show or dinner out. Most, however, were impromptu moments. Times when my daughter decided to roller blade around the island in our kitchen or getting the dog to play ‘hide and seek’ with us.

So, how can you experience play? First, recognize that it is necessary. There is very little that comes close to freeing us from the seriousness of life than play.

If you want to live a life of joy and reduce your stress, then play is a must have in your day. — Michael Pfau

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Second, look for opportunities to make life fun. Whether you are at work, riding in the car, or doing chores at home remember the sage advice of Mary Poppins, “In every job that must be done there is an element of fun. You find the fun and snap the jobs a game.” So look for ways to make the daily parts of life fun.

“It always seems so sad to me when I see people who have lost their sense of playfulness. They seem so serious, always on the verge of being upset.” — Dr. Richard Carlson