As we close out the school year (it’s late May, all of a sudden!), I find that my thoughts turn to the long, hot days of summer. I think of the change of pace, planned trips and times with family, a slowdown in the demands of school, and the fact that it flies by every year. My musings inspired me to offer some random bits of advice for the summer months.
Make this the summer of the book instead of the summer of the screen. One sure way to lose academic ground is to allow our children to give themselves over nonstop to the passive entertainment of electronics rather than to the active pursuit of the good, the true, and the beautiful through books. Certainly, screen time is a welcome form of amusement and fun. But beware too much screen time, to the neglect of the joy of reading. Henry David Thoreau famously wrote, “How many a man has dated a new era in his life from the reading of a book.” I doubt that a few generations from now someone will ponder how a new app or a video game changed his life. But books will never lose their power.
Make a Bible reading plan for the summer. This is something my family has done for several years now. We all read the same Bible passages each day and then hold each other accountable. It helps keep us on track spiritually. We all need a steady diet of the Word of God so that we continue to grow in our faith, even during the summer months. I know how quickly the summer and good intentions can slip away, so I recommend getting a plan together and starting right away to stick to it.
Find balance during the summer days ahead. Some parents tend to push really hard academically, even during the summer, while others relax and let down too much. Believe me, I’ve been guilty of both. Summer is a welcome break from the labors of school – but many academic gains can be reversed when we expect far too little of our children from June till August. Something my wife has done since our children were little is to find a workbook for them to complete during the summer. It’s something fun and different from what they do at school, but it’s academically valuable nonetheless. While we’re on vacation, though, we just call it off and do as little as possible for a few days. We all need a break, but the last thing we need is to vegetate for three months!
Keep the Regents vibe rolling. A big part of what makes Regents what it is, as a school, is our culture and expectations of our students. We expect students to be respectful, courteous, diligent, responsible, happily obedient, and accountable. We aim for loving learning, not just going through the motions of assignments and worksheets. So keep it rolling at home. Don’t accept excuses from your children, but instead, expect the best from them. If you’re like me, it’s all too easy to take the path of least resistance, to just let down. But whether it’s taking out the trash, exercising, reading, sitting with good posture, or saying yes ma’am, require your children to do the right thing and hold the standard high.
Finally, enjoy the time. The older I get, the more I sense how time is flying by. As St. James wrote, life is but a vapor that appears for a little time and then vanishes away. So let’s be motivated to enjoy a season of family, leisure, and freedom as a gift from the Lord’s hand.
I hope you have a wonderful summer.