Last month my husband and I took our family on our first real family vacation. The logistics made us sound crazy to some but the reality was a fantastic time of refueling and refreshment. We had such a great time away and praise God for that gift to us. But as I thought about vacations – and how long we’ve wanted to take one but haven’t been able – I thought back to some of my favorite memories as a kid.
Though there were a few “big” memories, most of my favorite memories were in the everyday rhythm and routine of living — lazy summers spent at my grandparent’s pool, catching fireflies in the evening, camping out in the backyard — those things that don’t require a lot of time or money or even effort. Yet now as a parent, it’s easy to forget how powerful those everyday memories can be.
As school ends and summer arrives, I want to encourage all of us to plan little moments with the kids. Sure throw some big memories in there, too, but don’t underestimate the power of being present.
I recently attended a conference and heard Dr. Jim Burns and Doug Fields share about a Harvard University study stating that “the number one contributing factor to anger, rage, and hostility in kids is perceived inaccessibility of one or both parents.”
Sobering isn’t it? One of the things that struck me about this finding is that the inaccessibility is perceived. My mind raced to all of the times I’ve been thoroughly distracted by a book, my smart phone, or the television. All of my hang on a minute’s and mmmmhhhhmmmms while I’m really not paying any attention came racing back to my mind, and of course I rushed home and shared my angst about this finding with my husband!
This certainly isn’t a post to heap any more guilt onto the shortcomings we already feel so strongly as parents. Rather, I hope it is a gentle reminder that our presence and our attention and even our simplicity matters!
While vacations are wonderful, vacations aren’t what sew the fabric of our families together — it’s the everyday moments that do.
I need that reminder often because in this exhausting season of littles and busy and oftentimes feeling overwhelmed, my push for structure and obedience and making it through the day, I often forget about just having fun. I forget about how powerful the small and simple and ordinary activities are, and in that forgetting (and when I feel mommy guilt creep in), I react and can be tempted to outsource fun to all of the summer programs that are offered.
So before I jump to the conclusion that we need another family vacation and before enrolling the kids in every day camp, VBS, sporting opportunity, and library gathering to keep them busy this summer, I’m planning out a few simple activities to anchor our days and our family together.
Read more at For the Family :: Unforgettable, Simple Summer – 20+ Ideas to Stay Present, Pay Attention, and Enjoy this Summer with Your Kids
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