The joy of children is contagious

Published 6:00 am Friday, July 6, 2018

There is nothing sweeter than the sound of children’s laughter. It sounds like music to me. There is certainly nothing else like it to lift the spirits.

I was with my son and grandchildren for the Fourth of July. He invited a friend and her son to come to our festivities and another family what have been long time friends came with their three children. Six children equals lots of laughter.

The girls decided to team up against the boys. Luckily, the number was even. They played hide and seek, board games, chase, Nerf wars, home made water slide, squirt gun battles, story time, chased lightning bugs, and I don’t know what all else. There might have been a few squabbles, but they were successful at working out their differences and taking turns for the most part.

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I was in charge of the squirt gun battle and refills while my son grilled out for the crew. They couldn’t resist squirting me until I decided to turn the water hose on them for revenge. It is impossible to be around happy children without their joy becoming contagious.

I believe the thing that pleased me most was that they were having so much fun doing old fashioned things that would have made me and my friends laugh and have a good time when I was a kid. They were simple things. One of the things that bothers me most about children in this modern time is how dependent they are on television and electronic devices. Parents train them to entertain themselves with a device in front of their faces so the adult doesn’t have to be bothered.

My grandson could be happy for hours playing video games, but his time is limited on that kind of activity. His dad still expects him to go play outside, play with his sister, have chores and interact with real people. My granddaughter is more of a movement child. She is in constant motion. But even she will sit down and watch an entire movie.

I confess that I will use these things to help them calm down and cool down. It is also important to get them to sit still and drink fluids to stay hydrated.

On the Fourth of July, the weather was hot and humid. The heat was sweltering. It felt almost too hot to breathe. I was amazed at how the children kept up their pace the entire day with almost no breaks in between games. It was absolutely sweltering heat, but as long as they stayed busy and happy, I let them play on.

I reminded myself of when I was a child so long ago. No matter how hot it was outside, we were always willing to go out and play. In the outdoors was the place where fun awaited. We played baseball, tether ball, played chase, rode bicycles, played tag, and a hundred other games that we made up which had no name. We might have fussed from time to time, but we learned how to work it out. There was far more laughter than anything else when we played with friends.

Siblings seem to quarrel with each other if they have too much time together. Throw in some outside children, neighbors, or cousins, and the problem is solved. At the end of the day, the sure mark or a fun day was that none of the children wanted it to end. No one wanted to go home and no one else wanted them to have to break up the little party. With promises to do it again someday soon, they finally loaded up and went separate ways.

With fireworks on the horizon, it was a perfect end to a very happy day full of good food, good friends, laughter and fun.

Reach longtime Enterprise columnist Judith Victoria Hensley at or on Facebook. Check out her blog: One Step Beyond the Door.