The Play Ethic
According to the work ethic of our culture, happiness comes from hard work and toil. “No pain, no gain.”
This contradicts the play ethic of nature: maximizing pleasure while avoiding pain. Nature always follows the path of least resistance.
Children naturally express the play ethic, and a lot of parent-child conflict reflects the clash between the two value systems.
Joyful parenting begins the moment you abandon the work ethic and start taking play seriously. That doesn’t mean never working; play is anything done in joy — including “work”!
So if parenting feels like hard work to you, set your sights on a new career of full-time play. But don’t change your routine yet. Start with a change in attitude.
Focus on the pleasure potential in every moment and, gradually, a joyful new routine will evolve to match your intentions.