It’s hard to believe that by the time you will be reading this, we will be coming into the last month of summer. Daylight until past 9:00 has come and gone and thoughts of the State Fair and getting back to school are real (granted, Target put their school supplies out approximately 37 seconds into summer, but that’s another post for another day).
It’s also around this time of the summer when I start to panic. Did I do enough with my kids? Did we go to the beach enough? Did we do enough play dates with friends? Did we play at enough parks? Did we eat enough freezie pops? DID WE EVEN HAVE A SUMMER?
Then, to make matters worse, I decide to check in on what everyone else has been doing this summer. Did you know that someone else took her kids to the beach THREE TIMES A WEEK? And there’s the mom who had her kids write, direct, and film a family play. And of course, there's the mom who constantly has a beautiful sidewalk chalk creation on her sidewalk and driveway.
Avoid the comparison trap. It's dangerous.
Pretty quickly I can fall into the lie that I didn’t do summer correctly. Somehow I missed the training meeting on what summer was supposed to look like. And not only that, but 8 weeks have gone by and I only have 4 left. There’s no chance to cram it all in now.
And that’s when I know I need to sit silently.
I need to stop looking at what everyone else is doing and listen to what God is saying. I need to hear his voice and remember how he has created my family.
Focus on how God wired you and your family.
A few years ago, I felt the need to do lots of things during the summer. I believed that a good mom had a plan and a schedule and went lots of places each week. So we did it. We planned a lot and went to a lot of places.
And guess what?
None of us liked it. I don’t like rigid summer schedules; neither do my kids. It’s just not how God designed our family. We enjoy simple days. Our family loves ice cream - especially ice cream in the summer. And we love to be able to finish dinner at night and decide on an impromptu trip out for ice cream.
Don’t get me wrong. If you thrive on having a schedule, places to be, and things to do, then let God lead you in setting the right schedule for your family. But that’s the big key – let God lead you and your family. Don’t let social media lead you. Don’t let TV shows or movies lead you. Don’t let the other parents at the park lead you. Don’t let your own well-intentioned parents or in-laws lead you. LET GOD LEAD YOU.
God will lead you to what fits your family.
When we truly allow God to lead us and direct us, and we are expectant that he will do so, we will see that what he has for us will look different than it does for others, but it will be what fits.
It may not look like the neighbor’s summer or your best friend’s summer. It probably won’t even look like the summers you remember from childhood. It definitely won’t look like the summer in High School Musical 2. But it will be a good summer because it’s what God has called you to.
And so with that in mind, I think back on our first 8 weeks of summer. We’ve eaten a lot of ice cream - a definite Harper family summer goal. We have gone swimming and to parks and to Valleyfair, and we even managed to find some fireworks to watch on the Fourth (something I’m learning to add to our summer because my kids love them). We’ve also read books and watched some fun movies, and my girls and I are doing a Bible study together.
And there are things we haven’t done this summer. I admit, I haven’t set up one playdate for my kids to see their friends from school. Not one. While we have gone swimming, we haven’t gone to a single beach – it's only been pools. And bike rides? Well, I had BIG PLANS for bike rides back in May. Do you want to guess how many we’ve done so far? Go ahead, guess. If you guessed ZERO, you are the winner! And that is okay. We’ve done what gives our family life this summer.
Listen to God and let your family know you love them.
So, go ahead and listen to what God wants for you and your family during this last month of summer. Turn to him to help you determine what things are a yes for your family and what things are a no. And remember, no matter what you do, your kids ultimately just want to be with you. So, whether you are doing something exciting like a trip to Valleyfair, or something simple like eating a popsicle on the front steps, take time to look into your kids’ eyes and let them know how much you love them.
As for the Harpers, you’ll find us finishing out the summer with more trips for ice cream, late nights playing in the backyard, and maybe, just maybe, a family bike ride.