November 20, 2010

The life of the party...

Nothing's more fun than
dancing in your dad's shoes
There’s likely one in every family.  That one who cracks you up, who makes you laugh and shake your head in disbelief at what they are doing this time.  In our house, that’s our Daniel.

The other kids are funny too, but Daniel has a unique quality about him.  He’s inherently silly.  In our family that’s not an insult; it’s the highest form of praise.  We’re serious around here about serious stuff: spiritual topics, respect for parents, kindness toward one another, and so on.  But when it comes to time spent having fun together, give us some silliness.  Our eight-year-old Daniel is always ready to provide the main attraction.  He's always in motion, and he loves to be the center of attention.  That obviously could spiral into something negative very quickly, but when it’s reined in and focused on entertaining the troops, he lights up and is in his element.  It might be a goofy dance, a funny face, or his uncanny ability to make the flesh on his skinny little abdomen roll like the waves of the sea.  Whatever he comes up with, it usually has us rolling too.

He even makes us laugh when he’s just trying to entertain himself.  At lunchtime one day, he was quietly and rhythmically raising and lowering his forearm while eating his sandwich with his other hand.  This went on for a couple minutes before I finally just had to ask, “Daniel, what are you doing?”  In a matter-of-fact tone he replied, “Chopping robots.”  Simple enough explanation.

The shirtless sheriff

You just never know what you’re going to get with him, and he’s been that way from the very beginning of his life.  When our pediatrician gave him his first physical, little newborn Daniel was wiggling around so much compared to his more sedate twin Zach that the doctor declared, “Well, he’s the squirrely one.”  Daniel is always on the go, and always ready to entertain us.
The comedian in his younger years
We don’t squash that silliness too often, though there is a time and a place for everything.  We do have to help him know when it’s appropriate to do his act.  But aside from his entertaining ways, among his other fine qualities are tenderheartedness and willingness to listen and obey.  Without feeling hurt by us putting an end to his crazy antics, he’ll happily pause the comedic routine and save it for later when told to.  Combined with all the other things that make Daniel who he is, it’s a wonderful recipe for a very special son.
So if you have a Daniel among you, I suggest you encourage the silliness, in its proper place and time.  Let them entertain you.  Families are often looking for inexpensive ways to have fun together.  For us, that starts at home with our squirrely one.

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