July is already upon us and summer is in full swing! I hope that you are soaking up a little rest and relaxation in between the continual complaints of boredom from your kids. As you are look for places to keep your kids occupied and out of trouble, I would like to offer you a couple of simple ideas to help you thrive this summer.
1) Boredom is part of being an adult. Feel free to affirm this reality. Don't let them off the hook to easily and make them come up with their own plans. Like all things, pushing through seems impossible, but when you break through there is success. Your kids are incredibly smart and I a always impressed with how they always find a way to do exactly what they want to do. Make them work for it. Build some character!
2) Try not to just program you time and actually connect with your son or daughter. I am amazed at how much of summer is going from one event to the next. Even vacations are set up going from point A to point B. Just like in student ministry, programs are not the final goal. Programs are simply a tool to build relationships and memories. Don't get too preoccupied checking off the programs of summer, but make sure you actually "see" your kids.
3) Don't let up in your's or your child's faith development. Faith is very similar to our muscles. The more work we put in the better shape we are in. When we stop exercising for even a week there is a noticeable loss in ability and strength. Take off a month and there is actually visible change. An entire summer and now what once used to be a natural part of life now seems difficult to even jump back in. With all the change in schedule and vacations it is easy to skip out of church and youth group for the summer. The break might seem great at first, but getting back in can be next to impossible. This is especially true for your kids who are relational maniacs. And once a place doesn't work relationally for them, they are out. You have a much higher tolerance for relational discomfort, but your kids don't. Keep this in mind as you have conversation and make decisions as to how many times your son or daughter is going to take a "break" from church and youth group.
4) Your kids are still kids. They are minors and believe it or not you have a say. You get to shape what and why you do what you do. You get to communicate that youth group and church are part of your family rhythm. When they move out and pay their own bills and raise a family of their own, they can make whatever decisions they want. If there is some pushback, please help your son or daughter find a way to make youth group and church a win. This is most important for you middle school parents. By the time your child is in 8th grade, habits are formed, relationships are made or not made, and it becomes next to impossible for your child to engage if youth group has not been a natural part of their life and rhythm. There is not "when school starts," "next year," "when they get into high school." This is the summer to help your kid engage!
5) Every day this summer ooze hugs and kisses on your kid. They will externally hate it!! But in their heart, physical touch and affirmation are the number one need of our souls and your kids aren't any different. Love them, hug them, kiss them!!!
Ok, that is it. My top 5 ways to help your summer be a win for you, your family, and your child's faith development. Don't forget that all youth group happens on Wednesday night's at the Kroner's home from 5:30-7:30. Bring $5 for dinner! Be sure to check out our summer calendar on our church's blog for all the latest and greatest options to keep your kids connected and not bored.
I am praying for you and for your kids!!!
Have a great summer! Keep in touch! Don't ever change :)