Don’t Waste Your Summer

Every summer, I have grand plans to spend it bonding with my family. My ideas are going camping, museums and spending time sowing seeds of faith and wisdom. But, instead I get caught up in schedules, errands and before I know it the summer is over. Then I promise myself next summer I will do better. I will spend more time with my daughter before she goes off to college and we don’t have summers together. 
Summer goes so much quicker than we ever expect it too. We start out with the best intentions when our kids are small to use the summer to the best of our abilities, but then life just seems to get in the way. We get sidetracked and we waste the opportunities given to us. Often we as parents forget —God’s given us just 18 summers with our children before they leave home for college. So, don’t waste this precious time. Don’t look back with sadness, and without memories, because those days can’t be done over.
Summers are also a great opportunity to talk about your faith as a family; to let your children see how faith and family are important from one generation to another. Jesus showed us the importance and the impact of spending time together in his relationship with his disciples. He shared life with those twelve who were closest to him. He knew he had just a few short years with them and that he had to make the most of it. 
He modeled to his disciples what a mature relationship with God looked like. He taught them how to pray, worship, serve and  live with other Christians. By doing life together the disciples were able to grow in their faith. This idea of making disciples of our children made me rethink how I talk and what I do during these summer days. What do I want my kids to learn before they leave home? What memories do I want them to have?
Deuteronomy 6 gives clear instructions to parents as to how to intentionally point our children to the Lord. “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might. And these words that I command you today shall be on your heart. You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, and when you walk by the way, and when you lie down, and when you rise” (Deut 6:5-7).
From the time we wake them up to the afternoons at the lake, to the long walks and bike rides through the park, we have an opportunity to shape our children by pointing them to Christ; to engage them in conversations about the gospel. If we continue to keep our summer schedule as busy as our school year schedule, we’ll miss the unique opportunities summer gives us to spend extra, unhurried time with our children.
Here are some practical ways to be make disciples of our children this summer. 
  1. Nurture their faith by being intentional with Bible study. 
  2. Read good books and devotionals together. 
  3. Put down your phone. Simply put your phone out of reach and really listen. 
  4. Include your kids in your daily activities and favorite hobbies. 
  5. Indulge in sheer fun with your kids. Laughing together creates memories that won’t easily be forgotten.
Like the disciples, may our children be close enough to us that the relationship that we have with our Lord draws them toward him. And may God help us reach our children for Christ at the heart level as we ourselves love the Lord with all our heart, soul, and strength.
Cassi B
Director of Youth Ministries