PAINT YOUR OWN SUMMER
A fix for the dreaded “I’m bored”
One genre of book I always keep handy is instructional books about all kinds of things. We have a basket of art books, a shelf on sewing and knitting, and generally lots of variety on making and doing. It is a pleasure to find out one of my kids has worked their way through some difficult instructions and tried something completely new to them. It’s a different kind of learning, played out in the simple pleasure of a quiet afternoon where you chose not to be bored. Since I don’t let my kids wander around looking for inspiration on the internet, having interesting things they can learn without my help is important.
If you don’t want to buy the books (I find many second hand), you might consider printing tutorials for topics of interest to your children and loading a binder or two with things to do and try. The diversity of things that get their attention always surprises me, and I love it when a child comes to me with a list of supplies they need to finish up a project. Oftentimes they don’t ask, but instead find substitutes, and make something happen with what they have.
I know people have done studies on the benefits of such things, but it is simply my experience as a mother that makes their discoveries so joyful to me. I love what freedom from the need for entertainment does to their personalities — forming an eye that looks around for things they can do, ways they can change the world. Right now the world might just be the backyard, but it is their world, and I love what they can do with it.
My kids asked me once if they could please just watch a show?! I told them about the movie they were gonna watch. It was gonna be a bunch of kids, sitting on a couch, watching something. For an hour and half. Just sitting. Vegging out. Staring at the wall, occasionally laughing. “Would that be a good story? Would you love that movie?” They obviously thought it did not sound captivating. I told them, “Right. So go do something that would be fun to watch. Go be a good story, make a thing interesting.”
This probably is at the heart of what I want for summer to be at our house. A quiet story, if you are just watching it from a distance, but a thrilling adventure for all those who are in it. Summer is also a great time to encourage your kids to read for pleasure. Make sure you have a good arsenal of books going into summer break! If you don’t already have motivated readers, you might encourage them with interesting new books and unplanned hours. Compared to a trip to the waterpark, the book might not look enticing, but compared to a quiet afternoon at home it might start to feel the wonderful getaway it is.
With summer coming at us so quickly, I feel all the excitement of a new and completely empty season. It always feels like it will last forever, like we will have so much free time, and so much fun. In reality summer can be just as wild as the school year—but luckily it does wild in refreshingly different ways.
RACHEL JANKOVIC is a wife, homemaker, and mother of seven. She graduated from New Saint Andrews College, but mostly reads cookbooks now to avoid story grip (being highly susceptible). Rachel’s books Loving the Little Years and Fit to Burst continue to be parenting favorites. She is also a contributor to the Desiring God blog and is featured in their book Mom Enough.