If you are a parent like me you’re as ready as your kids to wrap up the school year. You are tired of making lunches, managing homework and shuttling to and from activities every day of the week. And with all the extras that May seems to bring, you may barely be coasting by. Your only goal: Survival. Just a few more days or weeks, then you can finally (hopefully) relax or at least move to a more laid-back routine.
But in approaching this time of “rest,” we must not “check out” completely. The opportunity to shape our kids’ hearts and to be intentional with our extra time is too important! The thing is we have to plan for it. If we don’t, the days will pass us by.
This reminds me of something I shared once before here from my study in the book of Hebrews.
Hebrews 2:1 – “we must pay much closer attention…lest we drift away…”
Hebrews 4:11 – “let us therefore strive to enter that rest…”
Striving to enter rest seems contractictory. The alternative of not paying attention or focusing on the gospel (as is referred to in this text); however, is drifting away from it. Naturally. Without trying. It happens. Therefore, we must be intentional.
Isn’t the same true of our time?
All the time. But let’s talk summer time.
If we are not paying attention to the time we have before us – in our homes, with our kids and their hearts, and the more freedom and flexibility of summer – we will miss opportunities. It will slip by. Another summer gone, a new busy school year beginning and our kids another year older.
What then do we need to do today to capitalize on this summer’s time for loving, shepherding and engaging our kids?
This will look different for every family, but there is nothing better you can do for your kids than to show them Jesus. I mean really help them to see who He is for them. How He meets their every need and draws near in every situation. If you are unsure how to do this, there are some great parenting resources on my “Books I Love” page.
As for a few practical ideas or things to consider for this summer, based on your kids’ ages:
- Go through a family devotional book
- Or, mother/daughter or father/son read and discuss a book together
- Share weekly prayer requests so you see more of what is on each other’s hearts
- Pray together
- Take family walks
- Have a workout routine together
- Have parent/child date nights
- Pick a non-profit to volunteer at together regularly
- Reach out and invest as a family in another family or person in need
- Invite families/neighbors for dinner who you haven’t spent much time with before
- Say “no” to some of your kids’ social activities to protect family time as priority
- Invest in your church or commit to becoming part of one
- Create memories/shared time between siblings instead of always having friends around
- Have the birds & the bees conversation if your child is 4th/5th grade
- Don’t ignore sibling fights but deal with the individual hearts behind the problem
Obviously the list could go on and on. The list is not so much the point as is the question:
How will you strive to love, shepherd and engage your kids this summer at a deeper level?
Plan for it, or it won’t happen.
And when it does happen after incorporating some of these ideas or those of your own, it may just challenge you beyond summer – to think more about what are non-negotiables in your family’s schedule and what things may need to be set aside or altered.
This will require thoughtful consideration and discipline. It may require swimming upstream from our culture and saying “no” to your kids or certain activities. After watching several friends with seniors who graduated yesterday and my oldest now only two years away, I see how important it is to be paying attention. Time is drifting away. Therefore, I must strive for the long-lasting, eternal benefits of my family and not get caught up in the here and now!
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