I have heard it many times over the years. Sometimes in my own house, when our children were younger. Other times in friends or families’ homes. I can even remember times where I’m sure I asked the same question to my mom during those long hazy hot days of summer vacation. “What are we going to do today?”
A simple enough question to be sure, but probably one that, after the first couple of weeks of summer vacation, starts to grate on your nerves a little. I mean, did you really agree to be the summer fun coordinator for every day? Does everyday have to be something more, or bigger, or better than the last day’s activities? When do you get a break? The unfortunate part is that, over time, if we are the ones always making the decision about what we are going to do each day, then very easily we become the social director, excursion planner or concierge for our children’s summer. Feeling like this probably leads to thoughts of, “When do they start school again?” :) (I can see and hear that Staples commercial about it “being the most wonderful time of the year!”)
One suggestion to combat this planning fatigue and expectation heaped upon only your shoulders, is to pass on a little bit of the work. Maybe call it “Summer Homework”. This “Homework” allows your children the opportunity to grow in their ability to take ownership and gain some learning experience at the same time. Here is the suggestion:
Each week allow your child to plan a day’s activities. If you have multiple children, give each of them one day of one week and spread it out over the summer. You can give them parameters such as cost, timing, and distance, but ultimately they get to plan the day. They need to work through all the details such as meals, costs, and what needs to be taken with you, but they plan it all out. If your children are younger, maybe you can help them make a choice between two options that you pre-pick, leaving as many details as possible up to them, and allow them the ability to think through why one option is better than the other. The learning comes from seeing them consider options and talking through pros and cons with you or their siblings. Give them a deadline for when the decision needs to be made by and their reasoning behind the final decision. Added learning can come from spending time afterwards discussing what they thought and evaluating their decisions. Would they have done something different?
Taking ownership and working through choices are just some of the learning skills we focus on here at PCS and our Profound Learning approach. Continuing to do this at home, during the summer, just enhances their ability to grow in these areas.
For an even more in-depth look at the process of decision making, take a look at this summer’s blog that our friend Doreen Grey, from Master’s Academy and the Profound Learning team in Calgary, AB, wrote about using a specific format to help make the decisions.
Happy planning! Love to hear about any trips your kids plan using this approach. If you are on Facebook, maybe share a couple of pictures on our Facebook page (https://www.facebook.com/PickeringCS) and use the hashtag #PCSSummer. We will draw a prize at the end of summer for any families that share their stories. God bless!
It has been worn as a badge of honour.
Being busy, keeping busy, and telling people you are really busy are all indications of a well-spent life. Or are they?
We are all aware of the phrase “idle hands are the Devil’s workshop”, but does that mean we need to be panting and running around doing life? Now, to all this, add children. I can sense some grins and smirks from those parents who take their children to a plethora of activities and events, including every birthday party for every child that has been in their classes at school. Now that’s busy. But is it healthy? Is it the right thing to be doing? How can we be busy, but not be extended beyond reason? Without a plan to not be busy, we will fail.
For most of us, we usually have every minute of our 8 to 4 or 9 to 5 workday planned or designated to our schedule. For some, that may include a 12-hour shift, or just work as long as possible to get the job done. Once that clock strikes “finish time”, we drift into a realm of unplanned, unstructured, plop in front of the TV, time. Leave me alone. I’m done for the day. If you have a spouse and family, this really isn’t working for you.
My suggestion is a planning session every Sunday - God’s day to plan God’s way for the following week. Extend the day planner through the supper hour to bed time. Plan the quiet time for all, plan the family time, plan the personal time, plan the time with God. The following Sunday allows you, as a family, to reflect on how the last week went and how this new week should look. This is an amazing time to speak into your children about what is important in life.
It’s the best “homework” your child can do - planning their day so it’s balanced between work, relaxation and entertainment. The purpose of homework is to figure out how to set aside additional time after school that will occupy their life in transferable skills throughout their life. Planning does this. Time to read. Time to research an interest. Time to memorize. Time to play, not just alone but with the family. A time to share passions. A time to spend with God.
A planned life is a productive life. The Bible speaks to our nature when it says that we wander (Psa. 119:10), we drift (Heb. 2:1), and we go astray (Isa. 53:6). In our pursuit of living a life with eternal value, we must plan.
Have I used the word enough times to get my point across?
Why not use this summer to begin a family routine that will instill life values and redeem the short time we have on earth.
Survival is a desire in all of us.
The TV series that is going into its 40th season of pitting individuals against each other is a phenomenon that excites the viewers to peer into people’s lives and watch them trying not to be voted off the island. I am intrigued by it. What does it take to win?
As a parent you might sometimes feel you are trying to survive not just in the world but in your home. What a tragedy it is to think that raising children is something to “survive” and endure. The intentionality of the child rearing days are the backbone of the family unit. These young lives are a gift and as such are not to just be tolerated for a season but rather we should see it as joining God in the redemptive work of salvation. We are partners in this glorious activity and as such our attitude should reflect it.
Then life hits.
The whole realm of child behaviour and time-consuming effort starts to exhaust us and the joy of this labor is somewhat tainted.
Maybe it’s time we regroup, rethink, refuel and refocus our energies into being the Godly parents the Bible calls us to be. Summer is soon upon us and it will offer a bit more time to relax and possibly allow some books to move from the shelf to our lap where we can have some fresh insight into our roles as parents.
One such book I would highly recommend is Age of Opportunity by Paul David Tripp. Targeted to teenagers but practical advice for all ages. One of my favourite authors in the area of parenting, this book is a wealth of practical, biblical advice on helping parents to be encouraged and equipped to do their job joyfully. Sound impossible? Pick up a copy and give it your summer time to bring back the purpose and passion of your parenting. You will be changed and your children will thank you.
If you are more into digital/video series, through our partnership with RightNow Media you can also access a couple of other resources.
Another resource from Paul Tripp in book/video series called Parenting - https://www.rightnowmedia.org/Content/Series/303205
This year’s school theme has been “Reaching out into Christ’s Kingdom”. All year, our focus has not only been on helping the students to be aware of our responsibility to help out the family of God, but also to be in the community with opportunities to share our faith through our actions. 1 John 3:18 reminds us to love each other “in deed and in truth”. A wonderful opportunity to show love in action has been presented to us by The Sick Kids Hospital in Toronto.
The hospital has been running a program called “CALIPER”. Its purpose is to build a medical database of standards from healthy children. The more children that participate, the larger the data population, and therefore, more information can be provided to assist doctors in accurate diagnoses. Sick Kids has been partnering with numerous schools over the last couple of years to help gather this data. Here at PCS, we have had many families and friends benefit from the work of Sick Kids and their doctors over the years. We would love to offer the opportunity for our school family to be a part of this great program.
Attached, you will find a copy of the general flyer with some basic information about the program. On Tuesday, May 14th, as part of the Night of the Museum activity at PCS, the team from Sick Kids Caliper Project will be here to talk and give further details to our school. You can visit them in the MP Room (the classroom to the left of the front foyer when you enter the school) any time during the night.
We will follow up with a school assembly on Friday, May 17th, to inform the students. After the assembly, participation forms will be coming home, which parents can fill out if they wish their children to participate. The clinic itself will be held on Thursday, May 30th, here at the school throughout the day.
Please read the flyer and come prepared on Tuesday, May 14th, to ask your questions.