Thursday, May 27, 2010

Taking Time To Delight


"Sons are a heritage from the LORD, children a reward from him. Like arrows in the hands of a warrior are sons born in one's youth. Blessed is the man whose quiver is full of them..." (Psalm 127:3-5, NIV)

Summer is upon us. The weather is warm and the excitement is high. Our children shift from the structured and demanding schedule of the school year to the footloose fun of the vacation months.

While this is the time of year every child lives for, it is often stressful for parents. Our routines are derailed. This is often the season where we've scheduled copious numbers of doctor's appointments, dentist's appointments and surgeries. There are the scheduled camps, weddings and family obligations. Anxiety can escalate for parents as we attempt to juggle the topsy-turvy days of kids being home 24/7.

It's exactly at a time like this when we need to lift our noses from the grindstone and look up to behold the beauty around us. We have a wise, old pastor at our church who likes to say, "Come apart before you come apart!" What if our personal routine can wait? What if our homes aren't as clean as we think they should be? I often remind my husband, The dirt isn't gonna grow legs and walk away -- Cleaning can wait for a little bit. Summertime provides us with a gift right under our noses that we can often be too agitated to take note of!

God tells us in His word that our children are a gift from the Lord. Why not make summer our season to delight fully in that gift? We can exchange our plans for merely enjoying these kids before it's too late. They don't stay little or remain at home forever, in most circumstances. We need to relish these days while we still can. If not, we may look back when the house is quiet and the demands of parenting have waned with regret for the time lost.

Children are notorious for bringing attention to the small things in life, those things that adults are often too busy to notice. Here are some ways that you might take advantage of that natural curiosity to make the most of the season together:
  • Go on a nature hike together. Whether it be in a city park, your own backyard or out on an official trail, the time together can be precious. Equipped with a notebook and a cheap magnifying glass you can share discoveries with your growing explorer.
  • Plant a "sensory garden" together. (Check out the posts from our friends Lorna & Pierette at http://kidcompanions.blogspot.com/2010/04/sensory-gardens-for-kids.html and http://kidcompanions.blogspot.com/2010_05_23_archive.html) Not only can it be a real treasure to see your child thrill in the simple act of digging dirt or planting tiny seeds, the after-effect is incredibly rewarding. It is a true learning experience for your child. And there is a sense of soothing as you listen to the gentle gong of wind chimes, witness the whirring of a pinwheel, feel the different textures of plant leafs, and smell the scent of herbs, vegetables and flowers together.
  • Get down on their level with water, sand or coloring. De-stress yourself as you remember the simple gifts of childhood that come from enjoying building a sand castle, splashing in water or drawing from imagination.
  • Cuddle your child, really taking in their soft skin and big eyes while you read to them. I had an educator tell me that children need to hear us read to them even into high school. And if your child is not neuro-typical, how much more do they need to hear the lilt of your voice as you share a book with them. As you do, you can also be blessed by holding them close while you are still able to. Let their warmth, the outline of their precious face be burned into your memory to treasure forever.
  • Take the time to do things in the morning or evening that you wouldn't otherwise do during the school year. Dawdling over breakfast together or catching fireflies in a jar are pleasures that elude us during the rush of the school schedule.
  • Take time to write down for yourself the favorite memories of the summer months. Even if you're not one who keeps a journal, writing down a brief sentence, collecting a favorite snapshot or clipping a relevant article from an event you attended can leave you with lasting fondness when reflecting on these days.

These are the ways that we fill our cups and build endurance for the tough demands of our lives. I think we can all safely say that on the last day of our lives, we'd rather count up more good days than bad. If we truly desire that, then we must work at it. The effort we put into enjoying and building happy memories with our children are surely a worthwhile pursuit!

1 comment:

  1. Thanks Barb for the mention of our posts on Sensory Gardens. I found 2 quotes that go, I think, with your post:"Life is not measured by the number of breaths we take, but by the moments that take our breath away." Maya Angelou
    It is not how much you do, but how much Love you put into the doing that matters" Mother Teresa

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