Summer, which is a wonderful break for some people (i.e. our children,) strikes fear in the heart of many parents because now they are single-handedly responsible for all the structure, feeding, entertaining, connecting, and educating that is usually shared with a lunch lady, a handful of teachers, a bus driver, a gaggle of friends and a librarian. Gulp. And most parents that I know (including myself) feel guilty about that fear because they love their children, want to enjoy the extra time with them while making great memories, but with the sun up from 5am-9pm, parents tend to get a wee bit tired, and then their kiddos invite all their friends over who mow through food like a plague of locusts, and then those children get bored and start to whine and want to go to Target to spend their parent’s money, all while mom or dad is trying to get a few things done. When this is repeated day in and day out parents end up reactive instead of proactive and find that in summer they are not the best versions of themselves.
So what’s a parent to do with summer? Answer these two important questions:
1. What would you really like to do this summer?
Research shows that your brain cannot look at a problem and a solution at the same time, so instead of focusing on the difficulties from last year, envision your perfect summer. What are you doing? Going on day trips or big trips? Hosting gatherings at your house or relaxing at your neighborhood pool? What are you and your family in need of most? Have you always wanted to plant a garden? Do you want to paint the family room?
Pick your top three priorities to focus on at one time because we can easily overcommit at the beginning of the summer and then feel overextended and defeated by the end. Ask each member of your family to make their own list. Be reasonable but have some summer goals. Put the leftovers on your fall list so they aren’t procrastinated but instead slated for a more appropriate time.
2. Who do you want to spend time with this summer? Do Thoughts of Summertime Fill You With FEAR?
Your children? Old friends? New neighbors? Extended family? Do Thoughts of Summertime Fill You With FEAR?
Typically summer is a more relational time of year so make goals for community and connection. Prioritize developing and growing relationships into your summer TO DO list. In whatever way you sow relationships in the summer, you will reap the benefits throughout the year.
Ask God what His priorities are for you this summer and which people He wants you to connect with. Usually His list is much shorter and more manageable than our list.
In everything you do, put God first,
and he will direct you and crown your efforts with success.
Proverbs 3:6 TLB
By Dale Skram
Mom of four daughters
1 Corinthians 13 Parenting Team Member
real.life.speaker, real.faith.writer, and real.life.coach
Take a peek at the 1 Corinthians 13 Parenting Store to find a special gift for Dad.