One month until school starts again. I’m ready and not ready. Late summer is a time to be relished. Produce comes into season. The days are still long and the dogs days of summer take on a comfortable vibe. The beach, the park, the neighborhood bike trip are no longer novel, but still entirely enjoyable.
It’s a nostalgic time.
1. Kids and summer entertainment
So I was just reading a blurb about some poor children. You know the ones. The kids who don’t take an elaborate summer vacation. The ones who have to help around the house, watch siblings, fend for themselves. The ones who have to come up with their own entertainment and put extra effort into having a fun summer.
To be honest, it made me a little annoyed. This is my kids’ summer. This described my summers growing up. And to post an article treating their summer like a deprivation is such a trigger to guilt in impressionable, tired moms.
What our culture, our parenting culture, fails to realize is that entertainment is a luxury, not an unalienable right. Even my own pediatrician told me boredom is good for kids- steered rightly, it can make creativity abound. Which leads me to #2…
2. Goodbye TV… again.
So we were working on a project while Stephen was on a work trip. The weather was pleasant, and while cleaning the garage isn’t glamourous, it is necessary. Plus, having a chance to be a blessing to their dad? Yes, a thousand times, yes!
But these kids of mine would float away into the house to watch the stupid box. On a gorgeous day. The type of day that demands attention because we live where it is cold 1/2 the year.
So I grabbed the TV and took it to the shop. And there it shall remain indefinitely. Because I’m tempted to sit them in front of the TV instead of insisting that they be productive and show initiative and creativity.
This isn’t the first time I’ve done it, and it will not be the last.
3. Life isn’t fair.
Yet still on the child rearing track, I think another lesson I am failing to teach my kids is that life is not fair. Bad things happen, and we cannot always throw a fit when the winds are not in our favor.
This is such an important lesson too, because the knowledge helps us deal. Everyone else does have their share of disappointments to varying degrees. God knows. He is using our circumstances to do a far greater work than we can imagine.
But we doubt this, and we doubt it in the lives of our kids. And the things we think are just terrible and awful…. well, compare it to people half a world away or a century ago, and you may gain perspective.
We want to fix all the injustices in the world for our kids… google snowplow parenting to see what I mean. We teach our kids absolutely nothing about problem solving, coping or real life when we pave their way to a problem free existence.
And I get it. Watching your child struggle is an awful feeling. You want to make it better. It’s a natural tendency. But I am telling myself- and sharing with you- that we need to knock it off. We do our kids no favors in the long run.
4. It’s okay to not be okay.
I’ve been in a little funk lately. I have no idea why. These things do happen, though, and it would be dishonest on my part to pretend they don’t. I think God uses these times to teach me about my own frailty; to keep me humble.
It is okay to be struggling. It is not okay to stuff it away. First, tell it to Jesus. He is acquainted with our griefs. He understands and wants us to unload on Him. His shoulders are big, and He can help in ways no one else can- Jesus can change attitudes and hearts.
Second, find a friend, a relative, a counselor and tell them what is up. Share your heart with them, not as replacement for God, but for accountability. You may need just the listening ear, but you may need more than that. A confidant can help you determine what you need. There is safety in counsel, good counsel. Not just someone who will agree with you on everything.
Third, rest in God’s Word. Open the Bible and do the wrestling. Read until the Holy Spirit gives you the solace you need. Then memorize it. Dwell on the truth of the Word instead of wallowing in your circumstances or your fog. The Bible tells us our minds need renewing, and it is equipped to do just that.
Supposedly we have a really nice lawnmower that a friend gave to us when he got rid of his vacation home. It’s timeless. But it needs conjuring that only my husband can give it. Since he has been busy, the grass keeps growing.
Optimistic me tried to get the thing started. And I did. Only for it to die time, after time, after time again. So I sit here with a meadow.
I’m starting to think it gives my dear handyman a feeling of purpose to have a machine that will only obey him. I get it.
So I guess I will just go inside and enjoy my new-to-me dishwasher. It had an error code last week that I quickly fixed. So I get the personal affirmation from appliances… this is our life. 😉
Hope your weekend is maintenance free!