How can I enjoy life? What do I even find fun? Is there anything that seems exciting? I am not the only one to ask these questions. Just last night in visiting a family dealing with a signficant health challenge for one of their children; both parents struggled to answer the question ‘What do you do for fun?’ They work; they take care of their delicate child along with their other children. Life revolves around survival. Yes if our primary aim in life is pleasure we will ever be unsatisfied but if we are merely existing and surviving life will be drugdery. Even without some significant trial in our life the dominant thought in most men’s minds is how to make a living. Coming into this New Year my gaze was upon the horizon of fun, I knew I needed to create some excitement for me and my children. The great settler of the western united states, a man that understood work and achievement; Brigham Young, had a philosophy of 8 hours sleep, 8 hours work, 8 hours recreation. What? 8 hours recreation, maybe for some… but for a Mother; it is not possible! Still, this philosophy worked for a people that built a city from the ground up and paved it with people of hearts of gold… A British study I have thought of lately, in looking at one of their premier schools of music; compared the practice habits of average violinists with those that became elite. Both practiced around 50 hours a week, but those that became elite spent two thirds more time in delieberate practice; that is, they focused the bulk of their practice on working on skills just above their skill level; truly they worked hard; that is with a high level of mental focus. But there is a reason for this stamina of focus. The average violinists practiced the violin all day long and described themeselves as exhausted and with no time for leisure activity. And yet the elite violinst that practiced the same amount of time claimed to have abundnat leisure activity because they had clear delineated breaks between work and recreation. Specifically they practiced around 3.5 hours before taking a break, and then they practiced 3.5 hours more before being done for the rest of the day… I don’t know how this translates to the endless tasks of parents and especially Mothers but combing both insights is very interesting. Brigham Young’s conception of recreational activity was active, building, never passive, never idle, and never lazy. The common outlet of media would not constitute recreational activity it would not renew and build the person. A combination of long hours with no recreation and plenty of media can leave us like the average violin player; tired, exhausted, burnt out, and not accomplishing much. As overworked as we feel, we need to look at the ‘work’ we do, can it be better and harder and more productive. And then we need to look at the recreation we do, can it be building and active and renewing and most importantly can there be more of it? Can we create in our minds the dlineation of what is work and what is play. Is reading to our children work, or play? Until we learn to work hard and learn to play hard ‘recreate’ then work and play will all become drudgery and exhaustion a state of survival with which I am all too familiar. Will you think upon how you can incorporate this into your daily life? I personally need some more recreation in order for my work to become more productive but each of us can be guided as to how to make a more productive and rewarding life for our self… I have cried a few times this week and it has been painful to put into my heart the idea that my old life is over and that I am now building a new life, a life without Kathy, a life that does not seem like it will ever pale in comparison to the life I had before, and yet I must believe it will be just as great; actually I have to believe the best is yet to come; no matter how I feel inside my experience has taught me that if we endure well the bitter, we will know a new level of sweet. Maybe I am not alone here. Maybe more than a few of us need to build a new life, one that is both more productive and far more exciting.