Looking Ahead: Carrying a Spirit of Summer into the New School Year

There’s an ease about summer that, for the most part, can seem to bring out the best in us. Surely I’m not alone in this; that early rising sun gleaming through the shades in the morning, the first taste of watermelon by the poolside, and the sound of little bare feet scurrying along the pavement. Something about that big stretch my soul does as it wakes up from the Winter slumber tends to breathe itself out in one big sigh of relief, “Ahhh, we made it!” 

So we begin summer, and maybe there are more kids at home than usual, and a million more activities to participate in, but it’s different, and there’s variety, and there’s time -- oh, it seems like maybe the time is endless. In that same way, summer carries a nostalgic sense that anything is possible, and along with that, an ease that just makes it less of a headache to simply go with the flow.

Soon enough, though, we find the summer coming to an end, and there’s a temptation to dread that fact, as we know that beyond the impending pumpkin patches and apple cider, there’s still a winter coming. A season where there’s barrenness, where perhaps the color of life fades, and we can lose perspective in the day to day. Is it possible, however, to maintain our current liveliness toward life as we go into these task oriented months? Does winter have to totally shift our thinking and become this all consuming list of things that need to get done?

I believe there’s a way to go into the new school year and live fully within each distinct period of it, without sinking into a cycle of preschool car lines, uniform laundry, and diaper changes. So I spent some time thinking about this, and wanted to share with you three Summer mindsets that we can take into the rest of our year - even when things are perfectly mundane.

  1. Time is on my side.

Some days, this just doesn’t seem to be the case. But as fleeting as it can be, doesn’t summer sort of bring this feeling that it might really last forever this time? During the colder months, it seems we should be more selective with how we allow our kids to spend their time, or maybe we should be signing them up for more extracurriculars, or add in your list of what you feel you should be doing. The reality is, yes; these little years are short. Let’s not shorten them by just going through the motions. Let’s be fully present and lean into the moments where time seems to tick by a little slower. Let’s fight for the perspective that these are days we won’t be getting back, so we are going to experience them and take hold of them and let time pass as it will.

  1. “I can roll with that!”

I know. This thought makes some people shudder. We need a plan!!!

I’m definitely not saying don’t plan. On a day to day basis, there are times where I’m just not sure if I can function without an idea of how my day is going to go...but what I’ve learned, as I’m sure many of you have, is that sometimes wrenches get thrown into those plans. But do these inconveniences (maybe a dirty diaper, a jurassic-sized toddler meltdown on the way to the car, or the mess on the kitchen floor due to someone trying to reach something a little too over their head) have to mean that the whole day gets dismantled? This kind of piggybacks off of my last point - take hold of these moments! It’s so easy to react. So easy. But don’t forget to simply laugh at the hilarity of this life and the reality of life with littles - there are plenty of unexpected moments. Can we find a place in our hearts to say, “Well, this isn’t what I was expecting, but we are going to roll with it.”?

  1. Anything is possible.

As I said before, there are about a billion things you might feel you “should” be doing as a parent, and so many times it revolves around making sure your kids are 100% happy, 100% of the time. Let’s just squash that expectation right now - it’s not going to happen! But what I do suspect is that you love your children. You are going to do what you believe is in the best interest of your family as a whole - and to me, that sounds like the right step. Make those fundamental decisions and choose to believe that your family is on the right track - there is a big old world out there and each day to day commitment to your family now is going to set them up for a life of fullness and possibilities more than you could imagine!

So as summer winds down, we hope you remember that you are seen, you are doing an incredible job, and we can’t wait to see how you carry a bit of sunshine into the gloomy months ahead!