I’ve been working more than normal lately, so tonight I dedicated myself to play.  I cooked dinner for the family, we watched part of a movie (the classic Karate Kid, to be precise), and then the kids said, ‘can we go outside?’

It’s late Spring in South Carolina.  The smell of honeysuckle is soft in the air…just beginning to wrap itself around me when I bike.  Everything is green; except the air, which is hazy with the humidity that will lie across the land until October winds and cool nights puff it away.  And floating in that sea of humidity are vast, uncountable gnats, who make their home in our nostrils, eyes, ears and mouths when we play.

Tonight, while playing, the children said, ‘just hold your hand over your head, the gnats will go to the highest point!’  I laughed, but sure enough it worked!  So there we were, laughing and playing like kids trying desperately to ask a question that no one would answer.

But gnats and humidity did not keep us from our appointed rounds. We went outside into the early, verdant, breathlessly humid, bug infested world with two goals in mind; throwing knives and riding bikes.

What’s that, doctor?  Are you crazy?  Well, maybe.  But my kids and I are huge fans of, shall we say, ‘cutlery.’  We have a great hunk of red-oak which serves as our target.  I started showing them this skill (a skill at which I’m only marginally capable) many years ago.  Now, quite frankly, the boys are pretty good, and Elysa at eight is coming along (for a lefty).

So, we threw our knives; played the game (without any name I know of) where two persons stand face to face and stick their knife in the ground, and the other person has to move his foot to where it stuck, ultimately accomplishing unsustainable splits.

Then, we biked on the drive, after which I spent time playing Barbies with Elysa (though even she wasn’t in the spirit), and painting with her on our kitchen counter.

Bed time came late for all of us, and was capped with our ongoing reading of the Bible; tonight’s tale was the story of Joseph bringing Jacob to Goshen, found in Genesis.

What a lovely evening!  Jan had some quiet time; homeschooling all day requires periods of rest and silence.  I had my fun time.  And now, at last, the house is quiet.

Play is a blessing; and when we neglect it, we suffer in ways we can’t appreciate.  And our children suffer even more from our absences.

Life is serious, and requires our attention.  But life will be over, this life at least, and our play may have as many eternal consequences as our work, at least where our families are concerned!

So go, quit reading, play and laugh.  And if you throw your knife at a hunk of red-oak, remember (as I have learned) that even knives can ricochet!


PS  Some of our favorite knives for rough use by a rough family:



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