OK. Hey. Just forget all that. Go outside and play. Time for recess, take a break. Head to the lake. “School’s out for summer!” Do something fun.
Go ahead and take that off ramp. Drive out the two-lane. Head into the country, roll the windows down. Sing out loud. So what if you should be somewhere else right now? Be here instead. Feel the wind in the windows. The whole world calling.
Go climb a tree. Dance like you mean it. Go off the high dive. Jump in the deep end. Tell him you love him. Remind your kids these are games to be played — not do-or-die competitions serving adult-world obsessions. Show them how to play kick-the-can, to identify the constellations. Or take them to the batting cages.
While you’re there, take some swings yourself. And see if ripping the ball on the sweet spot — whap! — isn’t still one of the greatest feelings in all the world. Maybe even better now than ever. White sphere sailing away, rocket launch. Like flying a kite. You can feel the wind, the flight over gravity right down through the string in your hands.
Life will bring you back to earth soon enough. With all its seriousness, meanness and wearisome ways. Pressures and stress aplenty. Expectations, obligations, the heartaches, pain and duties of life — and specter of death. So run down that dune while you still can. Laugh while your parents are still around. Read to your kids while they’ll still listen.
Seek and savor — don’t disregard — those chances to play. To enjoy one another’s company. The making of memories that matter. Those moments that bring joy, that make life worth living. That serve as antidotes to all the rest. That is what this issue celebrates. The importance of fun. Without getting too serious about it.
For those who think this frivolous, who think “fun” a lightweight, nonsense topic, who simply must make everything somehow productive, please pretend these stories are about parenthood and family, about the sweet spots in life and being ourselves, about finding fulfillment in our work and bringing happiness to our days. And ask yourself if it isn’t just possible that it gladdens God’s heart when we enjoy the gifts that life provides. Laughter as prayer; fun as happy acts of gratitude.
And imagine that even coloring is not a waste of time. It is a way of connecting — with those at the table coloring next to us and with the child inside of you, who is as important today as she ever was. Coloring also brings us one of heedless fun’s greatest benefits: the escape hatch to totally lose ourselves in some activity, unselfconsciously engaged, far away from the troubles life otherwise imposes.
So please accept our invitation on the cover. Tear it off and color as creatively as you like. Then hang it on your refrigerator. Or send us a picture and we’ll post it on our social media sites. We’re not looking for a winner, just hoping to find some playmates wanting to join the fun.
Kerry Temple is editor of this magazine.