The contentedness challenge
The contentedness challenge
CAUTION: It is advisable to sit down in cushioned surroundings while playing this game. There is a strong possibility you may fall over when you hear some of your children’s questions and answers.
When we chose this game (from the hands-on options) as an activity that might lead to good discussion, we had no idea what an understatement that would be. The rules are basic. When asked, “Can you be content without ______?” just answer honestly and then say, “If I have food and clothing, I can be content with that.” We also qualified that our answers were based on being content on our own strength. (With God, all our answers should be yes!)
Jessica almost turned herself inside out begging to be the first one to ask a question. I had no idea what she was thinking. Here’s what she said: “Ben, could you be content without God?” Three jaws dropped. Ben sputtered. “Of course not! If I have food and clothing, I can be content with that.” That’s when we realized the second part of the response was inadequate. We changed it to, “If I have food, clothing and God . . .”
Ben asked me if I could be content without a fridge and freezer. My mind raced as I thought of the hassle of trying to keep food from spoiling from April to October. Honestly, I had to answer, “No, not unless we moved to a very different culture.”
I asked Jess if she could be content without her stuffies (her very favourite toys). After contemplating that proposition for a moment, her reply was carefully measured, “Yes, I think I could be.” Whoa! I believed her, but that’s not what I expected!
“Daddy, could you be content without sunshine or being able to go outdoors?” “No.”
“Benjamin, could you be content without any paper or books?” “No.”
“Jessica, could you be content without any sweet things to eat at all?” “No.”
“Mommy, could you be content without your kids?” In a microsecond I tried to imagine life without them. “No.”
“Everybody, could you be content with only one change of clothes?” Our mini fashion queen was the only one who answered no. I said yes because I was thinking how simple laundry would be!
“Daddy, could you be content without coffee and chocolate?” Ooooh . . . that one hit a nerve. “NO!”
Ben asked all of us, “Could you be content living in a hut?” I inquired about whether the hut could be heated in the winter. Upon receiving an affirmative reply, we all hesitantly answered yes. Now that would be an adjustment!
“Daddy, could you be content without a vehicle?” “Yes.”
“Ben and Jess, could you be content with just one present each next Christmas?” Silence. They looked at each other. Finally replies inched out of their mouths, “Yeah, I suppose I could.”
And they meant it. I immediately had visions of a blessedly simple Christmas season. One gift each. No frantic shopping and wrapping sprees. Just lots of family time . . . a soft blanket of contentedness wrapped around us.