The Best Summer Ever

Let’s Have the Best Summer Ever

Monday, May 7

The calendar says summer starts on June 20, but around here, May 24 marks the day. As far as my kids are concerned, it’s the first day of sleeping in, trips to the pool, playing outside with friends and having fun.

As a parent, it’s easy to view summer as a long stretch of days with no structure. Some parents I know dread summer. The thought of filling all those days with activity is daunting. I think Phineas and Ferb said it best, There’s 104 days of summer vacation and school comes along just to end it, but the annual problem for our generation is finding a good way to spend it.

Day 1: Start with Prayer

Tuesday, May 8

My younger daughter went with my husband to Take Your Child to Work Day a couple of weeks ago. While she was there, she did an activity to find out what types of jobs she might like. Nearly all of her interests ended up being active things. She got a zero in the types of jobs that require lots of thoughts and analysis.

My younger daughter is like a lot of us. She’s a doer. She wants to jump right in and get her hands dirty. She doesn’t like waiting for directions, and she rarely stops to think before she jumps into an activity with both feet.

Day 2: Setting Summer Goals

Wednesday, May 9

One of the first things my girls learned when they started playing soccer and hockey was to keep their heads up. You see, a person’s natural tendency is to look at their feet when they are learning to dribble a ball or stickhandle a puck, but when you put your head down, you can’t see where you are going. And when you can’t see where you’re going, you can run into something you didn’t intend to run into — like another person or the boards. The kids get so focused on what they are doing, that they end up off course from the goal.

We want to be careful not to lose sight of our goals for our summers, and to do that, we have to set goals. You spent yesterday praying about what God wanted you to do with your kids. You asked Him to direct the way you spend your time this summer. Today, it’s time to set some goals.

Day 3: Get the Kids Involved

Thursday, May 10

Have you ever planned something you thought your kids would love and had it turn out to be a dismal failure? For whatever reason, your kids didn’t think it was nearly as much fun as you thought they would?

I remember planning an elaborate birthday party for my older daughter when she turned 6. I love to throw parties with lots of people, so we invited lots of her friends. I spent the evening watching her stand apart from most of her friends. That was when I realized that we had planned a party I would enjoy, not one that she would enjoy. My older daughter is much happier with just a few friends around. I realized I had never asked her how many kids she wanted to have. I had just told her the number, and she felt obligated to fill it. Now, we plan parties with much fewer kids, and my daughter is much happier.

Day 4: Make a Schedule and a Budget

Friday, May 11

Summer should be a time of lazy days and laughter, water fights and bike rides, movie nights and vacations. Summer is a time to make memories and share experiences. It’s a time to learn new things and revel in the wonder of an amazing God.

But, too often, we start the season off with big plans, then get to the end of the summer and wonder where those big plans went. We had such good intentions, but daily life got in the way. We never had that cookout with the neighbors. We didn’t take that trip to the amusement park. We missed out on having a summer adventure.

Day 5: Choose a Theme Verse

Monday, May 14

My older daughter heads off to middle school next year. She has 7 1/2 days left in elementary school. As I pondered and prayed about our goals for the summer, this fact never left my brain. I wondered what is the most important thing she’s going to need to know going into middle school. The word that God kept bringing to mind was courage.

She’s going to need to know it’s OK to stand up for herself. She’s going to have to make decisions on her own. She’s going to have to navigate the tricky waters of middle school girl friendships. And she’s going to need courage for all of it. Based on that, one of our goals for the summer is to focus on what it means to be courageous.

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