10 July 2014

18 Summers


Lord willing, give or take, that’s about what we have with our kids. It’s July already. And that means half this summer is nearly gone. So, how’s it going? Are you having the best summer of your life? Are you busy taxiing your kids from one activity to the next? Are you feeling a little stir-crazy? In other words… Are you feeling more stressed than relaxed?

It’s no secret around here that I adore summer. And that’s quite the statement considering it’s been about 110 on average this week (and only getting hotter next month).

Why do I love summer so much? No, it’s NOT because I enjoy the scorching heat. Simply put, summer gives us more time and freedom. It naturally lends itself to more creativity, spontaneity, and opportunities for closeness as a family.

As homeschoolers who school year round and spend a lot of time at home, I realize we’re used to this type of day to day life but more and more, I seem to run into moms who are simply worn out by mid-summer (homeschoolers included). All the zeal and relief they had on the last day of school has quickly faded by now. They find themselves tired, irritated, and joyless. Once again, they’re in the cycle of counting down the days until the kids are back to school. 

Typically, there are two things that greatly contribute to this weary mom’s summer… avoiding conflict and replacing it with busyness.

We’re all sinners so when sinful people spend more time with one another, the results are always the same: there will be some conflict. With younger children, this can be magnified on a daily, sometimes moment to moment basis. Therefore, it could easily feel like most of your day is spent as a referee. However, conflict resolution is the very opportunity we have to train our children in love, grace, and respect.This can turn into opportunities to pray with our children, teach repentance, and practice forgiveness—building blocks for long lasting sibling closeness, let alone any valued relationship.

However, couple the avoidance of conflict with the band-aid of busyness and now fall is looking better and better each day for that weary and frustrated mom. When it seems like chaos in your home, all you want to do is scoot the kids off into an EXTRA long week at camp somewhere, anywhere.       Or maybe you’ve enrolled them in class after class this summer in hopes of keeping them entertained and you, from losing your mind.

Listen, of course, I’m not saying we should avoid all summer camps and classes. That’s not my point.

Rather, the real question we can ask ourselves is this…

Are we making the most of our 18 summers or are we simply surviving each summer?

I don’t know about you but 18 summers doesn’t seem like a lot to me. In fact, I only have 10 more to go with the girls and I know they will fly by. I intend to make each one count. Not necessarily with exotic trips or fascinating summer programs, but by letting my kids feel the simple and honest joy I have in just being with them.

Summer is the perfect time to spend some extra time reading together on the couch, making fun crafts, cooking up new recipes in the kitchen, playing games, doing housework together, or cranking up the music to create some new dance moves. The possibilities are endless.

I truly believe kids don’t need more action packed entertainment or lists of “Fun Things To Do This Summer.” They simply need us to be delighted in spending time with them. So rather than busying ourselves to the point where there’s no room for conflict, why not take this season to be intentional about practicing resolution while fostering a deeper relationship with one another? Like anything worthwhile, it takes practice and summer can be such a blessed time for that.  

Children need less busy days and more simpler ones. The kind of ordinary days where they’re not running off to the next fun thing. The kind of days where being bored is a gift and creativity ignites. Where kids can just be kids and you gladly meet them there, on their level. Play dates and trips are awesome experiences once in a while but something beautiful happens when the spirit is most contented with being at home with your family.

It starts with us, mom.

Summer’s not over yet…

Let’s live it well and embrace for our children those simple but fond memories that’ll last a lifetime.

Hailey said...

I was recently discussing this very topic. . . of choosing to "savor" instead of "survive"! Great thoughts Cat.

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