Starting Summer Strong (sort-of)

9:37 AMHeather

There was whining.  And complaining.  And loud proclamations about how there was "nothing to do!"  And it was only day ONE of summer.  Yep.  Last Friday.  Following a whirlwind trip to Florida the weekend before.  The day after my 5th (sorry, now 6th) grader had a graduation ceremony and pool party.  The day after all 3 children had a friend sleepover.   Yet, somehow, mid-day last Friday, boredom and frustration had already settled in.  Even though their aunt and soon-to-be uncle were coming for dinner.  Even though we were off to spend a day at the lake with grandparents the next day.

Deep sighs.  On my part.  And lots of deep breathing.  Trying to tell myself it WILL get better.  As my kids pretty much bounced off the walls that night, I assured my future brother-in-law with more confidence than I felt that the first week of summer is always tricky.

Drastic times call for drastic measures, and so my planning kicked in and I was determined to start off this week with a strategy.  Now, hear me clearly.  It may not last.  In fact, it probably won't stay this strong.  BUT, I think we all feel better with the illusion that there is a plan in place.  So, just in case you feel my pain (which I certainly hope is true--because misery loves company)...I'm sharing with you today my strategy to start summer strong.  Well, sort-of.  Cause you already know the epic failure of last Friday.

When my kids woke up yesterday, they found a note taped to the closed doors of the TV cabinet.  It gave the following instructions:

1.  Read Proverbs 4.
2.  Write out a favorite verse from the Proverb on an index card (piled near by).
3.  Take the bigger index cards (also nearby) and write out things they wish to do this summer, ideas for daily routines, and a subject, character or book from the Bible they'd like to study this summer.

And, guess what?!  They all 3 did it.  Without a complaint.  (Mostly).  I do believe they all three actually were glad for some direction and to have their opinions and ideas heard. And, in my ever constant quest to teach the Word and disciple my kids to develop a daily time in the Word...this simple strategy seemed to take root with them.  Um, duh.  Maybe I'm behind the curve and some of you smarter moms out there already figured out a similar strategy.  But, I for one, was most pleased to see my kids (13, 11, and 7) embrace my instructions.  And, it took me 2 minutes to write and post the note.

Now, the second part of my strategy was to gather some ideas from them about this summer.  And, thankfully, their agendas are manageable.  My oldest hopes to sleep in.  A lot.  My middle wants to have free time, swim, and maybe hit NRH20 at some point (it's a local water park).  And my youngest wants to read, swim, and have Friday family movie nights.  I think we are going to manage just fine!

The last part of my strategy was to start directing them to study Biblical subjects, characters, and/or books that interest them.  Directing them to read a Proverbs for the day is great, IMHO.  Some seriously applicable wisdom there in those 31 chapters.  But, I want to start teaching them how to dig deeper.  So, I took their ideas and hopped onto and did a bit of shopping.  Gotta love my deep thinking 11-year-old.  He wants to study Revelations.  Wowzers.  My oldest wants to study David, Solomon, Psalms or wisdom in general.  Yep, that pretty much sums him up.  And my youngest, bless her little heart, wants to study kindness.  Could it be that she is hearing my nearly constant mantra to practice kindness with her friends and brothers?

Here is my book list for the summer.  In addition to the ideas from my kids, I also picked the brain of a friend and got another couple of recommendations.  Now, we may not tackle all these books.  But, I will have a ready supply on hand to pique their interests.  And, I will say--my kids were thrilled that I actually BOUGHT these books.  "You mean, we aren't just going to the library?!"  A rare treat indeed. 

Practical Happiness: A Young Man's Guide to a Contented Life
Don't Check Your Brains at the Door
Choosing Kindness
Beautiful Girlhood
Unlocking the Mysteries: 150 FAQs About Revelation and the End of the World, with Group Study Guide
David: Developing a Heart for God, LifeGuide Topical Bible Studies
Secret Keeper Girl Bible Study: My Best Friend Jesus!
Walking Through the Wardrobe: A Devotional Quest into The Lion, The Witch, and The Wardrobe
That last book--the Narnia devotional--not on anyone's list.  But, who can resist a $0.99 bargain?  And, I'm thinking it may be just the thing for a little dinner time conversation.

Glimpse of grace:  If you find yourself assaulted this summer ALREADY with shouts of boredom, take heart.  You are not alone.  My ideas may or may not work.  In my home or yours.  But for now, my kids seem to feel better with the idea of a routine starting (yes, their organized mother has influenced them) and they were happy to wake up and dive into their instructions for today, taped to the TV cabinet.  It thrilled my heart to come downstairs to see my early rising younger two, with open Bibles in hand.  I can't wait to get these books delivered and start diving in with my kids--seizing the slower schedule and instilling some eternally significant values.  Sun, fun, swim, sleep...and starting our day in the Word.

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