As summer is fast approaching, I know the one thing I normally can expect to hear not long after the last bell rings…“I’m bored.”
Yes, how soon do we all forget how tired and exhausted we were just a week or so ago when school projects were at an all-time high, grades were suffocating us, and the last few weeks of spring sports and programs had our calendars maxed out.
Even though the rat race was hard, at least there was structure.
Each year, June brings mixed emotions for me. As a working mom, the logistics of kids at home and summer activities to make and sometimes feeling left out seems a bit overwhelming if I let it. For those who don’t work, I think it can also bring frustration and a need to find structure as well.
Over the last few years, God has really placed on my heart that if I want structure, it is my responsibility to create it.
And, I don’t just mean sending them to the pool every day. Or, planning movie dates and lunch plans.
No, I mean true-to-life teaching them responsibility structure. And, that even in summer, life is not quite all about them.
Please don’t get me wrong, I completely understand that we all need some down time. And, mixing fun in summer is one of the beauties of it all. I get it. But, can we all consider that allowing our children the freedom to do whatever their heart desires is a bit misleading. Isn’t it?
Unfortunately, for most of us reading this post, we don’t even have the luxury of doing whatever it is we want to do whenever we want to do it. Now, do we?
Not only that, but it is really hard to find the time during school to focus on practical life lessons and habits that they need to help them become more responsible in life.
Finding a way to incorporate some responsibility along with common sense teaching in summer is really the only way to help them be better prepared.
So, rather than feeling overwhelmed and undone by those little words most of us are sure to hear at some point soon, I hope we can all be more proactive.
Listed below are just a few of the summer ‘no time for boredom’ activities I hope to implement this year for my boys. Several we have already done, and several we need to do. Maybe you could incorporate some into your summer as well. I just keep being reminded that an idle mind is the devil’s workshop and that busy hands are happy hands.
Just a few chores never hurt anyone. Many of you may already have these implemented and be consistent with them. If so, I am a bit jealous! For our family, school slows down our given chores at times. Summer is a great time to be intentional with things the kids can do to help out. My boys have a list that remains pretty consistent with two or three items added as needed. Each day they follow the list and mark off what has been done. Let’s face it, if we don’t teach our children to do laundry or mow the yard, how will they learn?
Helping others really helps us more. Maybe once a week you could have them help a neighbor or family member. Our elderly need so much attention and help. Perhaps planning several times a month to reach out and do something intentional for someone older would be a great way to open their hearts to the needs of others. And, teach them that the best kind of helping is when you expect nothing in return. The feeling they will get in their hearts will far outweigh any video or pool time this summer!
Volunteering opens our eyes and our hearts to those in need. Finding a neighborhood or church-based organization to serve is another great way to block off some of their time this summer. Keeping them off the computer or X-Box and involved in something worthwhile, perhaps even life-changing is a great way to intentionally schedule them and in turn allow them to be a blessing along the way. I want my boys to want to make a difference and be able to truly grasp the impact just one hour of their time devoted to someone else’s needs can bring. The only way I know how to teach this is to expose them to it. And, often!
Consistently being in the Word brings lifelong blessings. Last year, I really wanted them to be in the Word more so I asked them each day to find a scripture on a particular topic. One week we may have done kindness, the next humility or love. Once they found it, they then had to write them down on a sheet of paper so we could talk about them later. I pray this activity is helping in some small way teach them to ‘write His word on their hearts’ and find the topics they may need one day more easily.
Cards and letters are an easy way to be a blessing to someone. I am a big proponent of writing (as I am sure you can tell!). Each week, I try to plan one or two people my boys will send a card or note to. Sometimes it is their grandparents. Other times it might be a minister or teacher from church. It could be a neighbor or a friend. Training our children to recognize the sacrifices and gifts of others is something that should be at the top of our list as parents. I really believe that we as parents can actually change the ‘entitlement’ image of today’s children by being more intentional. Teaching them to be appreciative and thankful just might overcome some of that.
Now, please don’t be stressed out by this as one more thing to plan or schedule. Just pray about it. Ask God to help you organize your children’s summer plans in a way that they have time to see Him this summer.
And, yes, there will still be plenty of pool time and ice cream treats and movie going and whatever it is that makes summer special for your family.
But really, aren’t most of us so blessed that almost every day is filled with blessings and fun times and more than our children really need?
I am convinced what my children really need to overcome the ‘I’m bored‘ syndrome this summer is simply this. More Jesus and less them.
Holy Father, Thank you for the precious gift of summer. For the quieter days and care-free nights that our families can appreciate and savor. Yes, Lord, help us to be grateful for every single summer day, but more so, help us to purpose those days for your glory. We humbly ask for peace in our homes, content in our hearts and a summer of joy and service as we all strive to be more like Jesus. It is in His precious name we pray. Amen.