Since my recent earlier summer blog post, “Can we just Relax, Mom?” I have received notes from other high-achieving parents, grateful for the reminder about allowing their kids to relax this summer.
I so agree with Liz, and told her I would be addressing that in an upcoming blog post. Hence, this post.
Liz is a good friend and I appreciate the way I see her parent. She parents with wisdom and common sense. She and her husband Bill know the importance of instilling values into their children, and I like having my kids go over to their home to hang out with their son.
Okay, I still stand by my blog post thoughts on believing that our children need to time to relax in the summer, but, as Liz alluded to, I also believe in balance. Liz is good about that. She is one of those friends whom I quote in my writings on motherhood and parenting. She is one of those moms who “gets” it. She gets the importance of balance and knowing when to say when. For example, they have limits on technology use. And limits on what it means to allow your kids to relax.
Summer. Ahh. Navigating summer days.
So, as I noted at the end of my blog on allowing our kids to relax, my husband and I decided to have a Family Meeting with our three kids (that are still at home) about what they would like to do this summer. It was a family meeting to discuss summer goals? I ended my last blog post (and HuffPo Parents post) noting the meeting but not the results. Well, I did note that their first response related to my question of what they wanted to do this summer: “Relax.”
We did take it farther than that indeed. There were other comments and goals besides relax, as I pressed.
In helping my children think about what areas they could consider with regards to summer goals, we read Luke 2:52 out loud:
“And Jesus grew in wisdom and stature, and in favor with God and man.” -Luke 2:52
Considering that verse, I tried to tie it in with four different parts of the life of Jesus:
1. “Wisdom” is related to intellectual growth.
2. “Stature” focuses on physical maturation.
3. “In favor with God” speaks to spiritual goals.
4. And “in favor with man” I believe deals with the social aspect of our lives.
These are the four areas we discussed as goals this summer during our family meeting, and are four areas that I hope my kids would consider their entire lives as they cover all the parts of a person. I felt they were all reasonable to consider this summer. I want to make this summer — and my entire years with my children — intentional. Deliberate.
The boys came up with their lists of goals to grow intellectually, physically, spiritually and socially. Studying German was an intellectual goal. Running cross-country was a physical goal for Wes and playing basketball was on Mickael Josef’s list. To grow spiritually, going to church youth group activities this summer topped their priorities, and socially, well they do not need help with that.
I added some areas I wanted my children to consider this summer, like reaching out to others and doing projects around the house. And reading and writing.
Yes, summer projects where I have a list and that list includes my 15-year-old twins and my 10-year-old son helping me accomplish that list.
Trust me, around our house; you never say you are bored.
So, where does relaxing fit into all of this? It’s all balance. Yep, that means the twins will not be playing X-box all summer, as they and my 10-year-old may have imagined.
But, I do want to realize that relaxing is important to them. Our school year is pretty scheduled with little down time during the weekdays for sure. And, I have to also acknowledge that the definition of relaxing for my boys is different than the way I view kicking back.
The best way I find for that balance idea to work is by starting the day with our “work,” with our projects, with our various areas. Like German lessons. Which means, not sleeping in all morning.
Which also means, that late night playing X-box or watching that newly discovered “Lost” series has to have its limits.
So, we’re figuring it out as we go, reminding my kids that yes, they will be able to relax this summer, but to appreciate relaxing, they have to do some work.
And, when the work is done, I promised my kids that I will let them — and me — relax.