We love this time of year! There is so much going on ie finals, projects, awards, playoffs, plays, concerts, promotions and graduations!! Though it’s busy but we still have some important messages for our children. Whether you home school, private or public school; whether your children are 2 or 22, here are some timeless thoughts we want our kids to consider.
- Finish Strong – We preach this pretty hard in lots of different ways and in lots of different areas. From grades, to chores to friendships to jobs, to college applications and all the other responsibilities our kids have, we encourage them to finish on top. “Not perfectly but progressing” is a theme we try to live by. It is hard to finish well and our kids are tired of the grind… get up, go to school, go to practice, get your homework and chores done, eat healthy, get to bed and then it starts all over again. What a great teachable moment for all of us to learn about balance, rhythm and margin in life. We try to motivate by reminding them how hard they have worked and how that has paid off in specific ways. Also, we remind them the grades they earn in the spring are what determine eligibility for fall sports. We teach them the “grit” to persevere until the end of the year builds character and adds greatly to their success in life. And we share some of our own struggles to finishing well and the lessons we’ve learned in our journey. We pray for them and remind them in our own strength this feels impossible but Christ in us allows us to do more then we can imagine (Psalm 28:7; Hebrews 3:19; Philippians 4:13)
- Anticipate Summer Fun – We make a paper chain (see picture) after spring break with the number of links that match the number of “get up” days left until school is out for the summer. Each day we tear off one link until the last day of school. We wanted our kids to know we are excited about the summer and the break in routine; our schedule, priorities and rhythm changes in the summer. We try to communicate we are happy for them to have margin in their lives and we can spend more time with them. We are more lax with bedtime and enjoy one more game or maybe lingering a little longer in a great conversation. As our children got older, summer changed. Our athletes didn’t get to come home from college and those with jobs still had to work. Others had to go to summer school and that influenced some freedom and bedtime. But overall, we try to be intentional about “bewithing” (in the Pritchard dictionary bewitching is a catch all term to describe hanging out together with those people we hold dear). We take advantage of summer reading programs at the library, summer outdoor concerts and other things our community offers. We wanted summer to be a time of deep connection and sweet memories.
- Celebrate With Joy and Thanksgiving – There is always so much to thank God for at the end of a school year. Again, no matter how you educate your children, there are always great stories of what God has taught and brought your family through!! Even if there are no graduations or promotions, set aside time to stop and thank the Lord for His protection and provision over your family. If it has been a particularly stormy year; maybe consider how the Lord has shown Himself faithful. If it has been an extremely fruitful year; praise Him and share how He has grown everyone. If you do have a graduation, one option is to have an open house to celebrate. Our theme is to invite those who have poured into our graduate. Then while the bulk of the guests are present, we have our graduate take time to publicly thank those friends, family members, teachers, coaches, mentors, pastors, bosses, etc who have influenced their life. And we celebrate!!! We love making candy leis and presenting them to our graduate after the ceremony. Sometimes you can barely see their faces! It represents our family, culture and again reminds our children of the many people that love and support them.
We pray you will have a wonderful summer with your family!! Please share some ways you celebrate the end of a school year and the beginning of summer?