It’s funny how the things that have the potential to frustrate me the most about my kids are also the things that remind me what really matters. Here are three ways my children help me delight in the simple things:

1. Literally stop and smell the roses. 

Many years ago, when my oldest daughter started kindergarten, our whole family would walk her to school in the morning. It was a dream to have Lucy’s elementary school only a few blocks away and it was a joy to turn school drop-off into meaningful family time.

On our walk back home, our younger daughter Nora seemed to stop to smell every flower, point to every bird and marvel at each cluster of mushrooms growing in the grass.

It wasn’t enough for little Nora to squat down to get a closer look at a ladybug or dandelion— she felt compelled to invite me into the moment with her. 

“Look, Mommy! Come see this!” she’d exclaim as she reached for my hand. “Come smell this flower!” 

Those long walks home from school were inefficiency at its finest, but as we inched our way toward our house, my little girl reminded me every day what a gift it is to be alive in the world. 

Our kids are good at that, aren’t they? They see things as they really are. As adults we’ve become so used to seeing birds fly overhead, squirrels jump like miniature acrobats from branch to branch and the wind scatter dandelion seeds across the grass that we forget how miraculous these things truly are.  

Psalm 104:24 says,

“How many are your works, LORD! In wisdom you made them all; the earth is full of your creatures.” 

Our children haven’t forgotten the miracle and, if we are patient, they help us remember, too. 

We forget how miraculous these things truly are... Our children haven't forgotten... and they help us remember, too.

2. Skip for no reason.

Have you ever noticed how kids seem to run everywhere? They jump over cracks in the sidewalk and skip just because they feel like it. It’s true that grown-ups have infinitely more responsibilities than kids, but isn’t that a better reason to let ourselves play? 

There’s something about skipping that reminds our bodies that there is joy to be found even on a plain-old sidewalk. 

Psalm 118:24 says,

“This is the day that the Lord has made; let us rejoice and be glad in it.”

Skipping is a great way to rejoice! It releases tension and I bet it’ll make you smile. Sure you could walk, but why not skip every now and then? There’s no scientific evidence to back this up, but I truly believe the world would be a better place if more people decided to skip at least once a week.

3. Make art for the fun of it. 

The other day, Nora, my husband and I ate lunch at a place with a grassy courtyard. Nora finished early and decided to play in the little green space. While Dave and I munched on our tacos, we watched Nora gather up little bits of mud and spread them over a knot in a nearby tree. When it was sufficiently filled in, she found the perfect stick and began carving into her newly made tree-canvas. 

The whole process took about twenty minutes and when she was done, Nora grabbed our hands and proudly led us over to an adorable picture of a little snake (her current obsession), carved in the mud in the knot of a tree. 

I LOVE that her mind thought to do that. Even though she knew her art would eventually get washed away by the next summer storm, she created something beautiful anyway. 

As a songwriter, sometimes I get caught up in the idea that every piece of art HAS to serve some practical purpose and stand the test of time. Nora constantly reminds me that’s not necessarily true. 

Sometimes the reason to make art is simply because we’re all made in the image of a supremely creative God. The very first verse of the Bible, Genesis 1:1 says,

“In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth.”

This is our introduction to the character of God: He’s a creator. Then later in verse 27 it says,

So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them.” 

Since we are made in God’s image, it is IN us to make things too (even if our attempts turn out weird or less than gallery-worthy). Whether we put crayons to paper, match words together to make poetry, or carve a snake into some mud on a tree, we are reflecting the character of God. 

There are so many challenges about being a parent and I know I don’t get a lot of things right. But I’m so thankful for the lessons God is teaching me through my children. In all these little ways— stopping to smell the roses, skipping down the sidewalk and making art— my kids are teaching me how to find my own childlike wonder. And that’s something I find absolutely delightful.