Motivate: Enjoining

This AMAZING post shared with permission from Katrina at
It was a normal evening during a normal week. I was cleaning up the dinner dishes while the kids played and Chad caught up on that day’s Tour de France happenings.
L.(4) was headed outside with a notebook and a crayon. He was so excited about the prospect of “writing outside.” I didn’t know what he planned on writing, but judging by the sparkle in his eyes, it was going to be something good.
Right before the door closed behind him, he peeked back in and asked, “Are you coming outside too, Mom?”
“No, buddy, I’m cleaning up the kitchen right now.”
“Oh. Well, when you’re done, would you like to enjoin me?
According to the dictionary, “enjoin” means to order or command someone to do something. That’s not at all what L. was talking about. He has endearingly combined the words “join” and “enjoy” to create his own hybrid, “enjoin.” He’ll use enjoin wherever you or I would use join or enjoy, and I have no plans to correct him.
[And C.(11), if you're reading this -- you're not allowed to correct him either! I like how he says enjoin. Let's hold onto it for a while.]
In L.’s world:
Join + Enjoy = Enjoin
And so, he had asked me to enjoin him outside when I was done in the kitchen.
I have to admit, there are far too many times when I join my kids, but I leave out theenjoy part.
I’m sure you moms know what I’m talking about.
We can join our kids grudgingly, thinking about all the things we’d rather be doing or “should” be doing.
We can join our kids critically, noticing (or even pointing out) all the things they’re doing wrong.
We can join our kids distractedly, being physically present, but mentally….we’re somewhere else entirely.
But those times when we do manage to truly enjoin our kids — to join them and enjoy them — they’re something special. Last night, I chose to enjoin L. outside. I watched him conquer a challenge on the swingset, I smiled while he combined his imagination and a watering can to do all kinds of things,… and then I instigated a water gun fight.
Before long, both of the kids and I were soaked (refreshingly so), chasing each other around the back yard and the front with a variety of water guns. In the end, C. won, because he lugged out the SuperSoaker Flash Flood. But L. and I didn’t mind losing. The water felt good…and we were having fun.
The enjoinment continued through bedtime reading and snuggling with L., and then with C. as we read another chapter in our current read-aloud. All in all, a delightful evening.
Sure, I could have picked up a book, or checked my email and Facebook (again), but it was so much more fun to join the kids…and to really enjoy them.
I’m hoping for even more enjoining today.


mer@lifeat7000feet said...

I absolutely love this. I think kids are so creative, and I love it best when they make up words. Especially words that capture an idea so well! Enjoin is a perfect example!

Bev said...

Nothing like some good ole Katrina - I've been enjoying her writing for a good four years, and this is great stuff. Moms encouraging Moms - LOVE it!

FunMom said...

I KNOW!!! Terrific, isn't it! I seriously think I'm going to paint it on a board and hang it in my house...somewhere I see it A LOT!! Great reminder of what really matters. :)


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