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Simple Pleasures
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Photo: Studiomill
At this moment, I am writing from my comfy chair, looking out my large living room window at the multi-colored landscape, which is an absolute gallery of the Creator’s artwork. The blustery day provides a backdrop of blue-gray to the yellow, red, and burnt orange leaves in the forefront, which are falling in rhythm to meet the emerald grass.  
    
As if the spectacular autumn display wasn’t enough tranquility, I am also slowly sipping my favorite herb tea—spiced orange—from a mug given to me by my daughter. The radio is mute, the television is cold, and for now, the telephone isn’t ringing. Both joy and peace are mine for this moment. How long it will last, I don’t know, but for this moment my life is serene.

Earlier today, as I was tackling my list of jobs for the day, I made a mental note to reward myself this evening with working a bit more on my current jigsaw puzzle, or maybe read the new issue of Reader’s Digest that I tucked into the coffee table drawer to look forward to later. I actually get a little flutter of joy as I anticipate sitting down and reading it.

These are such small things. Or are they? I suppose we would categorize them as simple pleasures. And while the activities themselves may indeed be simple, the benefits go deep and may even affect things as important as the choices we make and the way we approach the world.  Not just our own world, but the world. And there is no doubt that simple pleasures help to shape what kind of families we have, in both daily activities and in shaping valuable traditions.

So, how does a family embrace the wealth of life’s simple pleasures? How can parents instill in their children an actual appetite for these treasures that will last into their adult lives?

Here are some suggestions:

Read. Show an example of reading yourself. If children see their parents actually choosing to sit down with a book over watching a TV show, they see that there is something attractive in that choice. And make a big deal of it! Let it be known that you are going to reward yourself with an hour of reading some evening. And always, always be ready with quality book choices to offer the kids for reading time.

Embrace and encourage quiet. Easier said than done, I know, when the house is full of energetic youth. Still, try to establish quiet times when cell phones, TV, and radio are off limits. Challenge yourselves to identify sounds that you hadn’t noticed before.

Emphasize that simple pleasures are their own reward. Giving a reward for sitting quietly for fifteen minutes suggests that such an endeavor is a task and not a pleasure. Change the way you approach the idea of simple pleasures in your own mind and in the way you demonstrate them to your family and, ultimately, to the world.

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By Gwen Scott Simmons. Copyright © 2012 by GraceNotes. All rights reserved. Use of this material is subject to usage guidelines.


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