Brooke Romney: Why we are taking the fun out of life

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  • Ginanlsn Las Vegas, NV
    Nov. 1, 2017 4:16 p.m.

    Yes, yes and yes! This is perfect!! I’ve thought this forever! It reminds me of an upcoming summer break I was stressing over, because I didn’t have money for fun and didn’t know what I’d do with the kids. My backyard was in desperate need of love. I prayed one day or many days over what to do that summer. The thought came to work in the backyard with the kids. I was surprised and maybe annoyed at first but we did it. We probably worked in our yard for three summers and my kids still speak about fondly. Thank you!

  • DarlingFinn Nashville, TN
    Aug. 6, 2017 12:22 a.m.

    Why can't you teach your kids that work is fun? I have fun when I go to work, and my son and I have fun gardening, straightening up the house, etc. He actually says, "Mom, this is fun!" If you teach kids to enjoy working, they can see life as fun AND be productive!

  • CaptScooby San Antonio, TX
    July 30, 2017 9:02 p.m.

    I'm not sure why so many people think life has to be this great big ole ball of whatever mess they create. My kids are perfectly happy with reading books, going to baseball practice, playing with each other and being lazy. We don;t do "play dates", we don't do "keeping up with the Jones'" or anything of the sort. I'm disabled and am in a wheelchair, my kids understand that daddy cannot and won't do things like other families because of of and they're fine with that. Do I wish that all the money we spend on activities was worth every penny, of course I do, but hey, once it's gone it's gone. We plan our trips to Costco, Walmart, etc to go walk around and browse because it'll get the kids out and about, we pick up whatever we need and then the family heads back home to watch a movie. Life needs to be simple.

  • Nintendo Sandy, UT
    Aug. 17, 2015 3:49 p.m.

    I love having fun and my favorite thing to do is to play video games (hence my screen name) but life is all about work first and fun 2nd. If you can teach them that they should turn out well in life and be able to make a living first and have the fun come 2nd. I sure wish someone taught me that sooner in life, it sure would have made my 20's smoother. Lol

  • jashover Parker, CO
    July 11, 2015 11:31 a.m.

    Spot on. I am surprised there was any negative feedback to this, I can only assume those readers did not read the article in its entirety. It shows both balance and wisdom. There is no "un-fun-ness" about it; the author still believes in fun and enjoying life, but is simply emphasizing the need to teach and show children that there's more to life than being entertained. Sorely needed in today's society of constant entertainment and low work/productivity for children as compared with eras past (such as when working on the family farm doing early morning chores was a normal thing).

  • UtahTroutStalker draper, UT
    July 2, 2015 3:22 p.m.

    Brook has amazingly white teeth!

  • CWJ Layton, UT
    June 29, 2015 6:27 a.m.

    Looking back, I'd say that my mom and dad never taught me that life would be fun, or that I would always be in a state of life where everything would be fun, but they did teach me to find ways to make the boring and mundane more enjoyable. I believe parents these days over indulge their children with instant gratification; an X-Box here, and I-phone there; trips to the splash pad, which are all good and well, but I was the ultimate decider on whether I had fun or not. It wasn't mom and dad's job to ensure that I had fun.

  • missieykay Preston, ID
    June 28, 2015 6:59 p.m.

    Oh I know what you mean. My niece and nephew and step kids get upset if they are not continually fed entertainment. I was thinking about the same thing, how these kids are frustrated when not having "fun". I myself am guilty of feeding that desire, to constantly have fun. I am glad to hear someone else notice the same problem.

    I like your ideas of asking of what they did instead of if they had fun. I would like the kids I am with to learn to enjoy themselves and learning instead of being upset at not having fun.

    Thank you for the post.

  • John Locke Ivins, , UT
    June 27, 2015 12:49 p.m.

    As a parent who raised two boys and two girls, with the assistance and support of a wonderful Wife, their Mother, I can understand this article and the point Mrs. Romney is making. At the ages of 16-18, all of our children had jobs in order to have extra money to "have fun,"and they learned skills that aided them in life. To me that is an acceptable balance.

    My wife and I also have 19 Grandchildren, and out of that group, only three have found any success in working and developing skills. One is a Marine, now in Africa; one is a Manager of a Sports Bar, one a Manager in an electronics store, the last a legal secretary. They are all very smart and still very young. They learned responsibilities early in life, like their parents. The remaining are still having a lot of "fun," but as I discussed with my children, they all need to be more responsible, and not grow up thinking that they are entitled, to or are"owed" anything from anyone. We'll see.

  • bgl Santa Monica, CA
    June 27, 2015 12:30 p.m.

    "Did you learn something?"
    "Did you feel productive?"
    "Did you work hard?"
    "Did you try your best?"
    "Were you a good friend?"
    "Did you try something new?"
    "Did you push yourself?"
    "Did you make someone's day better?"
    "Did you add value?"
    "Did you create something?"
    "Did you grow?"
    "Did you discover something?"
    "Did you change the world today, even in a small way?"

    If I came in from a game of Whiffle Ball and my mom asked me these, I think my response would be--"Hey Mom? I WAS having fun, but I'm not at this moment....."

  • K Mchenry, IL
    June 26, 2015 9:33 p.m.

    Mom of eight.

    I think the mom feels entitled to having four boys who are accountable in their commitments to several different things almost all of her choosing. Heck it's entitlement that the kids have school, church activities, music, sports, hobbies... I wish people would get away from this notion that connects the word entitlement to money only. Entitlement is expecting the team coach to excuse your child from the game because you are overscheduled. Entitlement is expecting your kid to always be in a class with their best friend since preschool. Entitlement is only letting your kid have 30 minutes of unstructured time on a Tuesday because they had every other waking minute decided for them in which they were expected to perform for school, family, chores, music practice, homework, scouts, and tagging along to their brothers game.

  • KinCO Fort Collins, CO
    June 26, 2015 5:02 p.m.

    Sometimes I despair over the reading comprehension ability of the American public when I read comments on these articles. People rail against things that were NOT said in the article, and they read things into the article that aren't there. And they so often take offense--usually at something the author didn't even say. I guess many of these comments function as a Rorschach test--they tell far more about the person writing the comment than about the referenced article.

    Good job, Brooke. Kids will pay attention to the things we parents do. If we always ask if they are having fun, that will be come paramount. Helping them recognize the value of other things too--a job well done, concern that someone else has a good experience, looking for things to learn and do better--all these things make life truly fun. Often kids miss that important lesson if it's not pointed out to them.

  • Me Again Pleasant Grove, UT
    June 26, 2015 8:55 a.m.

    I'll be honest, the first mental image I had while reading this article was the scene near the beginning of "The Sound of Music" where the Von Trapp father calls his children to formation at the bottom of the stairs in their home. I really think what troubled me (and probably a number of the people who commented here) is comparing fun to drugs. I've never heard of anyone (outside of an addict) suggesting taking meth, crack or speed in moderation, so I think it gives the image of something that must be completely avoided. I think the author does get the right idea, that life isn't one continuous party after the other, but at the same time you can find fun in other activities. I do enjoy weed pulling more with either some fun music with good energy and rhythm or if some nut wants to come and help me, then we can also talk and have a good time together doing so. Between this and the article with the mom who didn't show strong emotion at sending their child out on a mission, the Desnews feels to be promoting pretentiousness rater than righteousness.

  • Tumbleweed Centerville, UT
    June 25, 2015 9:03 p.m.

    Work, learning, service to others all can be fun if you approach it with the right attitude.

  • 435>801 Spanish Fork, UT
    June 25, 2015 5:18 p.m.

    Adam fell that men might be, and men are that they might have joy.......

    I'm pretty sure that having fun is alright. Nothing brings me more joy, or makes me feel closer to heaven than hearing my kids laugh.

  • My 2 Bits Orem, UT
    June 25, 2015 3:58 p.m.

    I get what she is trying to say, but I think she is saying it wrong; and I think there is additional perspective. Life SHOULD be about having fun, but fun isn't always expensive, or done on vacation or staycations. My boys are taught that fun comes not only through those things, but in learning and serving. When my kids come home from school and they haven't had fun, and their answer is, "because the teacher is always yelling at us, or kids are mean, or I couldn't pay attention," then I have asked the right question. Most times their answer is awesome, followed with a small success they felt, or even better a success they saw someone else have. Life is fun! We have to stop getting bogged down in guilt and sorrow. We should see the good and lift each other, and in that we should find fun. And if our children can't fun, then they need to have their priorities re-situated. This article would be better written if she redifined fun.

  • kolob1 sandy, UT
    June 25, 2015 3:05 p.m.

    There is nothing wrong with a child asking for some fun in his/her prayers. What is wrong is an adult asking for the opposite in their prayers. Life should be fun. Life's chores and burdens should be measured by the fun scale.

  • MinidokaKid Tarrant, TX
    June 25, 2015 2:57 p.m.

    p.s. I do freely admit that the title Brooke chose for her article has probably lead to many of the critical or opposing comments posted. Title writers do have a penchant for wording them in a way to stimulate interest in the readers, but I often find them to be at least misleading if not misguided.

  • Brave Sir Robin San Diego, CA
    June 25, 2015 2:52 p.m.


    "Why is Utah the leading state, THE LEADING STATE, in anti-depressant use?"

    Because we have the highest percentage of insured people and people who have access to healthcare, so they tend to get their depression treated instead of just "dealing with it." But that's beside the point.

    Digressing, I've noticed that several people have mentioned service being fun. Service isn't always fun. Fun leads to happiness, but meaningful service leads to joy. Learn the difference between happiness and joy - there is one.

    Also, LDS youth leaders tend to fall into the "fun" trap. Remember, your job is not to give the kids fun, it's to get them to feel the spirit and be converted. If you have fun along the way, great. But fun isn't the central purpose of youth activities, and yes, apostles and prophets have confirmed what I just said.

  • MinidokaKid Tarrant, TX
    June 25, 2015 2:48 p.m.

    ste7000, Finally, a rational comment about the truth in Brooke's article. I wholeheartedly agree with her thoughts on this matter. It is my opinion that her point was that it is NOT wise for a parent to ensure that their children are emotionally feeling "fun" 24x7x365. That approach, in fact, would lead to a gross misunderstanding and mis-calibration of expectations about the realities of life. Kids who may be raised with this mis-calibrated set of expectations due to an over-protective parent that immediately intervenes the nanosecond her/his child senses an emotion that is not "FUN" is doomed to experience a paralyzing shock of emotions, and will wilt in the face of life's realities and would quickly start looking for someone to blame for their perceived misfortunes. Such parents would be doing them a huge disservice. Brooke never said anything about ripping "FUN" out of her children's lives, but rather more wisely pumping "JOY" into them instead. ROCK ON BROOKE!!!

  • K Mchenry, IL
    June 25, 2015 1:12 p.m.

    She is describing an over scheduled and over structured lifestyle. There isn't enough time to play when you are always on at church, school, practice, at a family event. That is why the kids want the activity to be fun. There is no down time and the brain needs that. Hold the accountable doesn't sound like taking out the stress but adding to it.

  • Mormoncowboy Provo, Ut
    June 25, 2015 11:43 a.m.

    I don't know Grannie...I see a manufactured photo? What I read in the article is a whole lot of need for control. Kids need to be guided and coached, not controlled and forced. They are not our "people" to create, they are their own people who need guidance and love. On the flip side, I do see parents who do the opposite, as opposed to trying to control their kids they allow themselves to be controlled by their kids, where the entire family culture and lifestyle revolves around Mom and Dad accommodating the activities of their kids. If that is what is meant by fun then I can agree with the need to reduce that accommodation, but not by replacing it with pretentious brute force "tough love" theoretical parenting billed as wisdom.

  • Mormoncowboy Provo, Ut
    June 25, 2015 11:36 a.m.

    My mission President gave me some advice that I really liked. There was a trend among some missionaries to try and outperform others. If the handbook said get out of bed by 6:00, they got up at 5:00, and then would find ways to push their views on others, kind of like the emaciated public fasters that Jesus criticized. My MP said, "you know, the Gospel is already by design hard to live. We shouldn't make it our job to make it harder by imposing our own made up rules". That's how I read this article.

  • Mormoncowboy Provo, Ut
    June 25, 2015 11:36 a.m.

    I can't disagree with the values of being productive or being a good friend, but I am confused why these folks think it has to be one or the other. It is a puritan way of thinking that these values are necessarily in conflict with iPhones or "media" (our favorite nebulous enemy). The last message I would want to send to my kids is "I don't care". The authors criticize the manufactured "fun" that they have suddenly become superior to and then proceed to tell us how they intend to manufacture these "stronger" relationships with their kids. It still sounds like manufacturing to me?

  • Mom of Eight Las Vegas, NV
    June 25, 2015 9:10 a.m.

    I don't think that the right word for what this mom is describing is "fun". The right word for her kids (and many other kids) is "entitled". What she is describing in this article is the life and attitude of entitled children. It is important to teach our children to enjoy working hard and to serving others. In other words to have fun working and serving. Having fun is a good thing. Being entitled is not. Those are two very different things in my opinion.

  • USAlover Salt Lake City, UT
    June 25, 2015 9:10 a.m.

    Why is Utah the leading state, THE LEADING STATE, in anti-depressant use?

  • True Believer Utah, UT
    June 25, 2015 8:34 a.m.

    I have a metaphor that I have used to teach young adults and teens over the years. Life is not a Love boat, or carnival cruise floating around endlessly partying and docking occasionally for even more adventures and fun. While there are plenty of adventures and get things to be seen and experienced along the way there are also hazards and challenges we need to be aware of. Life can be likened more to a Naval Vessel that is prepared and practiced to meet those challenges by having a stated goal and mission. Whether it is mother nature in the form of storms as we will all face storms in life, or challenges that come about as a result of aggression, work, and even sometimes play. Why is this so important for these youth to understand? Because they are forming expectations and because the world has many snares that can cause harm or even early death. While the Navy ship is but a snapshot of life in it's many varieties it is visual enough to get across nan environment of continual hyper electronic stimulation. Which also is like a drug and the subject of a whole other talk.

  • mpschmitt Boston, MA
    June 25, 2015 7:41 a.m.

    Joseph Smith once said that if you always have a bow strung tight, it will lose it's spring. He once told a friend for whom he was concerned to have a bit more fun in his life, and said that if he didn't, he would die. This friend later did die an early death.

    Children instinctively want to play, and rejoice in each day. As adults, if we're not careful, we can lose that innate characteristic and become "all about business". Finding the right balance between "wholesome recreational activities" and the rest of our duties is a must for a truly happy life. There is value in fun. There is value in hard work. Often they are one in the same thing. Rarely is something truly enjoyable achieved without some work and preparation on our part.

    "Wholesome recreation is part of our religion, and a change of pace is necessary, and even its anticipation can lift the spirit.” ~ Ezra Taft Benson

  • Howard Beal Provo, UT
    June 24, 2015 11:15 p.m.

    There is a time and a season and for children, yes, life should be fun and stimulating. When they're 50 they can stress out and have ulcers...

  • B ob Richmond, CA
    June 24, 2015 11:01 p.m.

    The author listed the problem and her plans to fix it. Nothing's been done yet. Hopefully she'll write again and let us know how things worked out.

  • ste7000 Grantsville , UT
    June 24, 2015 10:59 p.m.

    I think most of the negative comments come from a misunderstanding of the author's use of the word "fun." She isn't saying she's taking the enjoyment out of her kids lives. Just the opposite! I agree with the sentiment in her writing, which I believe is meant to say that kids do not need entertainment for the sake of being entertained. They do not need days to be filled with never-ending activities designed to keep them comfortable and smiling. Kids need to learn that real enjoyment and "fun" happens when you work hard, accomplish something, and reap the benefits of that! Rock on Romney family. I think you're onto something great

  • UtahBlueDevil Durham, NC
    June 24, 2015 8:21 p.m.

    Again - I am not sure why any of the activities that the author enumerates are mutually exclusive of "having fun". I can honestly say I have a job that most of the time is fun. When working in the yard together my kids and I have fun. When we are working on their Scout advancements, we have fun. Even when we do service for others - we have fun. Maybe not always the same kind of fun as riding a roller coaster, but it is still fun.

    Work, doing good, doing the right thing.... can and should be fun.

  • 1aggie SALT LAKE CITY, UT
    June 24, 2015 8:21 p.m.

    Form the beginning of man--(at least since I was born), a common lament of kids is "I'm bored, I have nothing to do." Some parents reply, "well, I can think of lots of chores you can do." Other parents might respond with something they did for fun when they were young--which is usually quickly dismissed as "stupid." Other parents may feel the need to create activities, though usually the kids figure something out--or not. Different families have different levels of energy. Some adults are high energy--always looking for "fun" and social activities while other adults may enjoy a slower more relaxed pace which is reflected in the family environment.

    Somehow it usually works out despite our parental tendency to over-analyze.

  • donlehnhof Salem, UT
    June 24, 2015 4:58 p.m.

    CaliCougar... She DID talk about balance:
    "We love to play sports, take walks, visit the theater, attend concerts, hike, play games, swim, watch movies and just be together. But this year we will work hard together too."

  • MrSparkle Canada, 00
    June 24, 2015 4:57 p.m.

    This gist of this story is: we weren't born to be entertained. Not the purpose of life (based on what I know).

    We have to be active participants in this life. Some times the scenery is amazing and sometimes the scenery is monotonous...and sometimes we are too busy shoveling coal to

    Let's enjoy the journey the best we can...cope with it when we have to, and be grateful for it at the end of the trip.

  • marxist Salt Lake City, UT
    June 24, 2015 4:21 p.m.

    Oh come on now. We must let kids be kids. They will learn soon enough that for most of us, life is about doing what you have to do rather than doing what you'd like to do.

  • Danny Chipman Lehi, UT
    June 24, 2015 3:38 p.m.

    Mary Poppins would be so disappointed in you. XD

    "In every job that must be done, there is an element of fun."

    Personally, I like to wish everyone to have the kind of day they deserve.

  • truth in all its forms henderson, NV
    June 24, 2015 3:37 p.m.

    the author must be a liberal they tend to take the fun out of everything.

  • dallasmax LIttle Elm, TX
    June 24, 2015 3:33 p.m.

    I guess I get it. But, having fun is also something that has too be learned. Turning dull tasks into fun challenges is an art. For children who lean toward being introverted and morose, teaching them how to enjoy fun can save their lives. The happiest people I know are fun to be around. Seriousness is highly over rated.

  • sockpuppet Provo, UT
    June 24, 2015 2:42 p.m.

    When I was a full time missionary, I was asked to serve in various leadership positions. Whenever I had to present training to fellow elders and sisters, my mantra was "If you're serving a mission and you're not having fun, you're not doing it right".

    There is fun to be had in the daily service and daily routine we preform. It is crucial to life that we find humor in every situation, don't get worked up over the little things, and choose to be happy.

    Fun is an important aspect of life. Even neccesary to survival. Lack of understanding and poor parenting demonstrated in this article.

  • grannie Santa Clara, UT
    June 24, 2015 12:58 p.m.

    I applaud the author and her article. It was balanced and perceptive and it is evident from the family photos that this is a joyful family. "Fun" implies shallow, fleeting and ultimately unsatisfying experiences. Joy and happiness and recreation are not in that category. I cringe whenever people ask ( after serving very unfun but life changing missions) " Was your mission fun?????" This good Mom did the right thing in perceiving the direction her children were headed and thinking it through. I admire her determination to make life much more meaningful for her children than just one fun thing after another ( even if the "fun" is balanced with chores, the reward for which is more " fun". )

  • kiddsport Fairview, UT
    June 24, 2015 12:16 p.m.

    I never had the problem with my kids complaining they were bored because that quickly was followed by an assigned chore. By the same token, they were always encouraged to get their assigned chores done quickly so we were able to go enjoy something fun.
    I agree it's all about balance.

  • Random Redlands, CA
    June 24, 2015 10:43 a.m.

    It's not just your family; many things are billed as fun, and as soon as the fun stops, the whining begins. It was very liberating to tell my children, and those under my stewardship (i.e. Scouts) that I am not your cruise director, I am not your fun planner. YOU plan something and we'll go from there. Not everything is meant to be "fun" (Really, how much "fun" is earning your citizenship patch in Webelos? It's a lot of boring, yet necessary, discussion), some need to be done to be done.

  • Spellman789 Syracuse, UT
    June 24, 2015 9:53 a.m.

    I have had the same concern with my children when they have come home from one of the aforementioned 'fun' activities, and three minutes later, they are complaining, 'I'm so boooooored, this is the worst day ever!!!!!.' It's as if they are saying, 'Mom, I was not entertained EVERY SINGLE SECOND! How dare you let this happen!'
    Of course, on the flip side, my kids do know how to work hard as well.
    I think that we also need to remember that we need to teach our kids by example. Do we as parents spend all of our time that our children see us in front of the TV? On the computer/smartphone/kindle or other electronic device? I know that I do most of my work while my kids are at school, so they do not see it, and by the time they get home, I'm tired. I want to rest and unwind. Maybe I need to save some of that work for when they are home and can see me (or even better, do some WITH THEM), so that they can learn from my example as well.

  • CaliCougar Claremont, California
    June 24, 2015 9:44 a.m.

    I think I understand what the author's underlying premise of this article is but she leaves out a critical word from my experience in raising three sons...."balance". I still subscribe to the old saying "all work and no play makes Jack a dull boy". Life is need to have fun along the way.

  • christoph Brigham City, UT
    June 24, 2015 9:41 a.m.

    To first comment maker, laziness, sin, worshiping fun, and wasting time cause guilt, not people. People care enough to warn.

  • Craig Clark Boulder, CO
    June 24, 2015 9:13 a.m.

    Having fun isn't all that matters but it's not something to make a child feel guilty about.