Summertime – now what?

Yesterday was the 4th Thursday of the month – our first one without MOPs.  Did you feel lost?  And now basically  all public/private schools will be out for the summer.  For many, this thought brings relief.  Less structure, less commitments.  For some of you with really little ones, you hardly know what day of the week it is and only can tell that it is almost summer by the increasing heat (been there before! 🙂  But some of you may also be feeling a bit of panic – the next 3 months seem endless.  What am I going to do with my kids ALL summer long?  Maybe it is time to make a plan.  Not a “let’s fill every moment with day camps, park days, play dates, craft times,” BUT instead let us take a moment and determine how we want our summer to look – what do we want to do (or even not do), so that in September we can look back and smile.

At recent fgl/steering devotionals, Kelly W. challenged us that the place to start is actually with a summer spiritual plan:

In Deuteronomy 6:4-9, we are charged with impressing spiritual truths upon our children as we walk along the road, basically as we live life.  We want our children to know the right path (Isaiah 30:21).  Several verses in the Bible command us to keep going with intention (I Corinthians 9:25, I Timothy 6:12, II Timothy 3:10, 4:7; I John 2:5).  So, this all sounds great in theory, but how do we live this out?  For starters, you need to figure out what makes sense for your family.  Starting a Bible study with a 2 year old – unrealistic!  Trying to teach your child one new Bible song a week?  A little bit more possible but may also be overwhelming.  Deciding to teach your child three songs and three verses this summer (one a month) – definitely doable! Rather than thinking “this is all SO overwhelming and I am just so tired,” we need to instead adjust our thinking – “what is ONE thing that I can do TODAY to point my child to Jesus?”

Another place to begin: start a grateful journal – write down one thing per day that you are thankful for.  You could also use a specific word to help direct your summer.  My word right now is “engaged.”   To be honest, I spend a lot of time near my kids, but playing with them does not come naturally to me.  I am a rather task oriented person and always have a lot to do – work that is often more appealing than making up pretend conversations with dolls or racing cars around a track.  But this work takes me away too often from my main reason for being at home – my kids.   So, for me, I am needing to set up office hours this summer, so that I spend concentrated time on the computer working on next year’s homeschool lesson plans or MOPs for next year, rather than letting these activities take up my whole day.  After several recent graduation open houses, I was definitely reminded that my time with my kids is short!  I want to look back and know that I spent time with my kids and not just near them.

Another idea to plan your summer … set up a perpetual calendar with a focus for each day of the week.  This is a suggested one handed out at the devotional.

Monday: make something

Tuesday: time to read

Wednesday: what’s cookin’ (kids in the kitchen)

Thursday: be thoughtful

Friday: somewhere fun

Saturday: spiritual verse

Sunday: sing praises

What I plan to do with my kids (especially my older ones) is something that I used in the past to help me focus, even as a teenager.  Luke 2:52 says that Jesus increased in wisdom and stature, in favor with God and favor with man.  I personally decided that if that was how Jesus grew, it should work for me.  So,  I have written down 4 goals in particular areas that will help me focus this summer and plan to have my children do the same: wisdom/mental; stature/physical; favor with God; favor with man.  With a little bit of advanced planning, this could be your best summer ever.

P.S.  If one of your goals is to spend more time learning about the Bible, Barb is doing several different “mini-lesson” Bible lessons.  If you want to be a part of this, it is not too late.  Please just e-mail us, and we will get the information to you.