It’s here! It’s here! Summer has arrived! An entire season of possibility stretching before you…. so what are you going to do with it? If you’re like most parents, the pressure to make this THE best summer ever has probably already begun to creep into your mind. What what incredible vacations will you take, what mouthwatering meals will you prepare? How many classes/camps/hikes/sports/activities can you cram into your child’s schedule? And how will you take advantage of every sentimental moment so that they remember this season forever? See what I mean about feeling the pressure?
The world tells us that as parents, its our job to make everything meaningful, magical and enjoyable for our children all. the.time. And in the summer , this idea seems to ramp up even more as we seek to find every way possible to help them experience FUN all day long.Sometimes the expectation and burden to create something perfect can suck all the joy right out of our experiences. And sometimes, the voices of others can easily drown out the still, small voice of our God, who longs for us to enjoy our days, but whispers a different way and a different plan.
So how can you plan a meaningful and purposeful summer full of family fun without all the fuss? How can you engage fully in the gifts of God and the beauty He has for you to take hold of in this season? These three steps will help you make a plan!
1. Determine What Your Family Needs in This Season
Are you tired? Burnt out? Needing a season of rest from your routine most of all? Perhaps your family is eager for lazier days, quieter mornings, easy-fix meals and spontaneous wandering to be able to Sabbath for a season. Or, perhaps summer’s extended sunshine days are the perfect time to create a more stable routine in your home, when the school year’s stresses are set aside and everyone has more energy. Do you need to spend time honing a particular skill or academic deficit in this season, or establish anchors for time in God’s word? Maybe your family simply needs face time with one another and an opportunity for new shared experiences. Whatever your needs, take a moment to access what they are and build ideas for how to address them into your summer schedule. Finding ways to fill up your own soul in the places it feels bare, and helping your children do the same is the first step toward a fun and fulfilling season.
2. Make a Bucket List
What do you really want to do this summer? What are the dreams you hold, yours and no one else’s? They don’t have to be grand and luxurious . . . they could be as simple as enjoying a new novel, learning the backstroke, making strawberry shortcake or visiting all the local parks in your area. Take time to write down how you want to spend your days and ask your children to do the same. Creating our summer bucket list is one of our favorite things to do every year! Over time, we have forged traditions that we come back to each and every summer: we hike our favorite trail, we make smores in the fire pit at the lake, we have sparkler races on the 4th of July, and eat ice cream at an old fashioned soda fountain (My favorite is the cherry phosphate!) Creating a list together can help steer our children’s hearts towards the simple pleasures of the season, give them something to look forward to and also something to celebrate as you check things off thorough the coming months together.
3. Find a Way to Worship
As our families experience joys of this, or any season, our children are watching us to see how we respond to all that we encounter- the good, the frustrating, the unexpected and all that is absolutely wonderful. The FUN of our summer is not merely rooted in experiences, but in our relationship with Christ. Do your children see you responding with gratefulness for all He has given? Do they see you trusting Him when plans go awry? Do they know that their mom and dad worship the God who hung the stars into place and glory in the wonder of all He has made and all He has done when you point out the Big Dipper and Casseopia on crisp summer nights? In a season where children are primed, just as we are, to have THE best summer ever, draw them into seeing and worshiping God in all things.
Do not let the chill of an ice cream cone, the exhilaration of a leap off the diving board, the wonder of stargazing and the adventure of a road trip be wasted this season. As you tie strings of fellowship with your kids, as you experience joy as a family, let them know, this summer is only a taste of the real fun, the real joy and the real gift to come in heaven.
Blessings to you this summer season friends!