Finding joy -> Overcoming the hurdle of chaos

In 1980, the year I was born :), Dr. Robert Plutchik, a American psychologist suggested there are eight basic emotions that are polar opposites of one another.

  • joy-sadness,
  • anger-fear,
  • trust-distrust,
  • surprise-anticipation

I can appreciate sadness being opposite joy, but in real life, I believe chaos is the hurdle between joy and sadness. In fact, chaos could be the hurdle between a whole bunch of positive emotions!

JOY!  ————————————————————-chaos———–SADNESS

I believe we need to cut through and eliminate chaos before we can really even get to joy. And although we aren’t able to control emotions, we CAN control chaos.

Take a quick inventory. Are you living in an over-scheduled, hectic household? Do you go to bed at night and wonder what happened that day? Have you sped through the week without really connecting with anyone?

Most people are able to identify they are living in chaos. More often, folks struggle to know how to get out of chaos.

Let me clarify that. Most folks KNOW what they need to do. The struggle comes is being able to do what needs to be done. In other words, when I ask parents how to slow down the crazy cycle, most parents are able to say… “Well I need to be home more for dinner.” Or “We need to have less activities for the kids.” Or “We need to schedule date nights each month.”

Why is it that we all struggle to cut the crazy out? I believe it is part cultural and part FOMO (fear of missing out).

Yes. We live in a crazy, over-scheduled world. But we don’t have to succumb to that way of living. I have met plenty of kids who were NOT in 3 sports at once and they turned out just fine! I believe we also worry that our kids will “miss out” on some opportunity if we limit something for them.

Let’s take a minute to consider the opposing question.

If we all can agree that chaos is the hurdle between us and joy, are our kids “missing out” on experiencing joy WITH US? Is that equally (or even more so) problematic?

Don’t worry. Remember my last post…kids are resilient.

They are still finding joy! Kids can find joy almost anywhere, can’t they? In doing chores, they find a way to mess around to find joy. In playing outside, they run and jump and play. In walking through the grocery store, they skip and roll on the floor.

To them, joy and fun are the same thing.

In fact, if we really stop to peel away the differences, joy often leads to fun and fun frequently brings joy.

But I find that many parents forget how to do both – have fun and find joy.  We are lost in the busyness and the chaos of life. Of schedules and work and chores and the mundane.

How do you have fun?

Where do you find joy?

Let’s all commit this week to finding ways to have a little more fun and finding a LOT more joy when we are with our kids. Trust me, you won’t miss anything by doing this!

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