School’s out!

No more pencils, no more books, no more teacher’s dirty looks…

I remember how much fun it was on the last day of school both as a student and as a teacher.  It signaled that moment when the responsibilities of the school system could fall away into the background as we shifted our priorities and energies to other things.

School’s out for the summer!

The next day was often about sleeping in.  After weeks of assignments or marking, exams or report cards, rest became a priority.  It was nice to not have to worry about anything at least for a short while.  Soon enough, however, the question arose: “what next?”

What next?

Summer vacation for students is typically two months long.  While there are those who are content to sleep and relax for a large part of that time, there will always be moments when restlessness creeps in and challenges us to do something.  This is the struggle of many parents who hear that mantra “I’m bored”.

Summer expectations

The fact remains, just because students are out of school, doesn’t automatically mean that parents are off work.  In fact, even teachers are known to take courses and prepare for the next school year during the summer break.  Still, young children (and perhaps not so young children) need supervision and, all too often, parents are expected to be some kind of cruise director, determining what children will do during their time off.

At the same time, some parents (and perhaps some forward thinking young people) see summer as an important opportunity to learn and develop skills in alternative ways.  Released from the expectations of the formal school system, it becomes possible to explore different experiences.  Sports teams like baseball and soccer help to keep young people fit and teach sportsmanship and other important skills. Differently themed summer camps can have children making robots, learning to cook, exploring nature and more.  Family vacations can create space to explore new places and be family.  Job shadowing or taking on a summer job open the door to explore employment skills and routines while potentially earning a bit of money.

How will your family use this time away?

The opportunities over summer are limited only by our creativity.  How will you use this time off school?  In what ways do you hope that this time will be meaningful for the family?  What do you think the role of the parent is in planning summer activities?  What role should children play in entertaining themselves?  We would love to hear your thoughts.

Thrive! A living manual for families uses the tools of social media and food and fellowship to facilitate conversation about the blessings and challenges of being family today.  Check out http://stpaulstrinity.org/?page_id=2100 for more information or visit our Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/ThriveFamiliesManual/