The momentum is building to the point of no return. It is the month of May, and if you listen carefully you can hear the ticking of the summer countdown clock. My kids are aware of exactly how many days are left until summer. They are so focused on reaching the last day of school they can hardly think of much else. We will have to find things for the kids to do lest they get lost in the neighborhood, or waste away playing video games. I guess that shows my age—remembering back when summer meant running barefoot through the neighborhood until the lights went out, and using every dime I had to buy Super Bubble and Icees.
It didn’t take too many summers with little ones to figure out I better begin planning for summer long before May. Summer is the season to slow down, rest, and take in things that our busy culture has dismissed. Each Spring, I take a deep breath and begin a different kind of planning (those who know me are laughing because I am not a natural plan ahead kind of girl) and I want to share my plans on summertime with you.
1) Take Time
I plan to have more time. No, I can’t control the clock, but with school out and many activities on break, I have the power to control more of our family’s time than ever. I mark the calendar with the must-do dates and then relish in all the open times. The open days can be filled with leisure, and my children will still learn a great deal. If you’re a planner, you can mark those days as themed days to plant seeds in the yard, clean out a closet together, or throw a birthday party for the dog. If you are like me and prefer to be spontaneous, make a list of activities that can be done and go over it when you are looking to spice a up a boring day. However you approach it, take the time to see these summer days as opportunity for leisure, fun and family bonding.
2) Waste Time
I know some crazy parenting “experts” speak against this, but with the hectic pace of our culture you now have to teach your kids it is okay to waste time. Wasting time means not always having to follow the clock and be productive. It means eating ice cream for breakfast or cereal for dinner, and even changing the times of when you eat. Try wasting time imagining what figures the clouds resemble or inviting your kids to create a food dish you know will be gross. Time management is a skill, and most of us are better at this skill when we have complete control and imagination with what can be done. Foster imagination in your kids and show them how fun wasting time can be. Disengage from your devices and schedules and see how fast the clock goes when a bunch of nothing is happening.
3) Be Thankful for Your Time
So here is where I do feel called to be disciplined and model for my kids what being thankful looks like. When we slow down our pace we see more, hear more, smell more, and have a blessed opportunity to share with our kids what we are thankful to God for. Practice saying it out loud for them to hear: “Thank you God for lazy days and not having to set the alarm clock. Thank you God for roly polies and ants. Thank you God for swimming pools and ice cream. Thank you God for music and all kinds of food. Thank you God.” The practice of being thankful and saying it out loud for all to hear is a great way to savor the slower times of summer and to demonstrate to our Lord just how grateful we are for all He gives us and for the chance to teach our kids about His endless love and forgiveness.
“There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under the heavens: a time to be born and a time to die, a time to plant and a time to uproot, a time to kills and a time to heal, a time to tear down and a a time to build, a time to weep and a time to laugh, a time to mourn and a time to dance, a time to scatter stones and a time to gather them, a time to embrace and a time to refrain from embracing, a time to search and a time to give up, a time to keep and a time to throw away, a time to tear and a time to mend, a time to be silent and a time to speak, a time to love and a time to hate, a time for war and a time for peace.” Ecclesiastes 3:1-8
Summertime is here. What will you do with it? I hope to take this season and waste time with my family doing very little, and along the way continuously say to my God how thankful I am for every minute of time He has given me with them. I will remember the values and character traits I want our children to learn and weave them into playing outside or building a fort and staying in our pjs for the day. The clock will move, and the calendar will change, and far too quickly summer will be over.
Today’s post is courtesy of Chrissy Smith. Chrissy is the Strategic Pastoral Liaison at Stonebriar Community Church. She is the proud wife of Scott, her partner in life for 23 years, and is currently in the throws of parenting two teenagers. She loves the Lord, spending time with her family, and encouraging women. We are thankful for Chrissy and her desire to share her wisdom with us.