What’s your summer plan?
I’ll be honest, there have been some years when I just wanted to survive. But since this is our last summer before Casiday graduates, I have a greater sense of urgency to be intentional about how we spend the next couple of months. As I’ve thought about what that looks like for us, I realized it’s less about the specific activities and more about the priorities to define the time we have.
And, the truth is, no matter if your girl is 18 months old or 18 years old, you wouldn’t be reading this if you didn’t have a desire to be intentional with your time this summer. As you read over the list of priorities we have for our summer, I hope you’ll be encouraged to consider how these general ideas could be implemented in your family.
What’s Your SUMMER plan? 6 ways to be intentional
Last week during a Facebook Live with the #girlMOMS group, I talked about being intentional with work during the summer. By that, I mean, identifying particular life skills your daughter needs and using the summer months to work on them. For example, one year we focused on doing laundry. Another year I taught Casiday how to deep clean different rooms in the house. This year, she and I discussed what area we want to focus on and have landed on meal planning and preparation. She wants a set of about ten meals she knows how to fix that are healthy and affordable. So, throughout the summer we’ll work on that.
This doesn’t have to be a huge ordeal, y’all. I promise. But what is a life skill your girl needs? And how can you begin helping her develop that this summer?
Summer seems perfect for this one — identify a unique opportunity for learning or doing something and add it to you summer calendar. Maybe there is an art museum you’ve been wanting to visit or a trail you’ve talked about hiking forever. Make this summer the year it finally happens. Look around and see what unique things there are in your area. I think sometimes we get so caught up in the routine of what we do every year that we miss out on the cool places and activities near us.
We live near Tuscumbia, Alabama, birthplace of Helen Keller. A few years ago, I took Casiday to see a performance of “The Miracle Worker” done every year at Ivy Green, Helen Keller’s childhood home. She still talks about how much she loved it. I highly recommend introducing your kids to the unique and wonderful things about the place you live.
How will you serve this summer? For us, it’s usually Vacation Bible School. We may do a few other things but VBS is always on my girl’s list. This year, we also want to do more intentional serving in our neighborhood.
Make time for some good conversations. I often pray about what topics I need to cover with my girl and then ask for wisdom and creativity in those discussions. Summer is a great time to have those long conversations that spread out over several weeks. For example, maybe you want to talk with your tween about dressing appropriately for her body. You don’t have to cover everything at once. Instead, approach the topic from many perspectives and with different examples or situations to get maximum impact.
Be vigilant about making time for your family this summer … but also be willing to allow your girl time to spend with her friends. Watch how they interact and the ways they deal with conflict. Pay attention to the behaviors and attitudes your girl has after spending time with different friends.
Summer is a great time to help your girl grow in her relationships with her friends. Take them to the pool or let her have them over for the day. Keep cookie dough on hand for a snack. Encourage her to develop healthy relationships — and be available to your daughter and her friends!
This one gets harder as your daughter gets older (or if you, like me, have a girl who doesn’t enjoy reading). But reading together has a very special way of bonding our hearts. Maybe you won’t read aloud together but perhaps you can read the same book and discuss it together.
So, there you go — a summer plan with six ways to be intentional.
But can I also gently tell you this? Your girl, more than anything else, wants you. She wants to spend time with you and know you are listening to her. She wants your affirmation and your wisdom. Even when all evidence points the other way, how you respond to her and what you think of her are deeply important.
Don’t make these six things into a checklist or a measure of your success as a mom. They aren’t intended for that. Instead, look at them a starting point for you to develop a summer plan with the intention of building your lifetime relationship with this girl you love so much.