If you haven’t already read it, I would encourage you to read a somewhat entertaining, and very honest article I posted at the end of last summer, I Miserably Failed my Summer To-Do List. It serves to be a great reminder for me, and I hope for you too, to realize that the time we spend with our kids is far more important than checking any items off of a to-do list.
This year, I am beginning summer with just one goal.
My goal this summer is to teach my kids to fall so in love with the things God made for them to enjoy, that they don’t mind being grounded from the things that humans made for them to enjoy. For them to experience old-school and pre-electronic summer days.
The disciplinary tool of the 21st Century seems to be a “digital grounding” type consequence. And that’s ok, I do that myself, but this summer I am wanting to go old school. I want my kids to fall in love with the 1990’s type of summer that I grew up in. I want being grounded from playing outside with friends to become a more meaningful consequence than being grounded from their indoor screen time.
I want to be able to say “you’re grounded from TV today,” and my kids not care at all, because they’d rather be outside anyways.
I want discipline to have more of an impact when I say “you’re grounded from your friends, and playing in the mud.” I want them to love being an old-school, outdoor kid so much that they absolutely hate when that is taken away.
I want them to spend their time outside in the fresh air, doing sidewalk chalk with me, and wrestling with their dad. I want them to discover secrets of nature, to see God’s beauty in everyday life. To climb 15 feet high in trees, to have picnics. And to love it.
To love it so much, that they would rather have the privilege of playing a tablet taken away, than the privilege of being outdoors taken away.
I want them to play in the water and mud that God created. To use their eyes and imaginations and find pictures in the clouds. To listen to birds, catch worms, and play in the rain. I want them to use their bodies to run to their friend’s houses and learn to play and sort through disagreements on their own. To ride their bikes to the baseball field and play ball for 4 hours in the heat, and drink from the water hose when they’re thirsty. I want them to use their voices to sing and laugh and yell at each other. To discover gravity first-hand, to learn from experience not to pick up ants, and to scrape their knees in a games of tag. I want to get good at pulling out splinters, and comforting with an ice pack for a busted lip.
I want them to work. To mow, pick up trash, and find ways to volunteer and serve others.
And I want to do all those things with them.
But more importantly, I want THEM to WANT to do those things. To have that desire within themselves, not because it is something I want for them, but because it is something they want for themselves.
I want them to experience a screen-free, and natural fun. And for them to realize, that screen-free fun is the best fun.
We live in a time of man-made entertainment. But this summer, my goal is to help my kids find joy in God-made entertainment.