By Amanda Percival, Staff Therapist, Edmond Family Counseling
As I’m writing this article, I am counting the days until school begins again. Didn’t school just let out? I remember being so ready for summer time when my children were little. Of course, I also remember being equally ready for school to begin again; to occupy them and give us back our structure. I write this from the perspective of a parent that just graduated her youngest child. My summer school breaks with my kiddos are finished, over, in the books.
As I reflect back, I wonder what my kids would say about our summer time adventures. Some of those summers were spent with me at home, some were spent with me as a full time college student, and others were spent with me working full time. But the common thread was an increased focus on fun times together during those summer breaks.
I know there are many demands on our time and resources as parents, but I would challenge parents with this question, “What kind of Mom or Dad do you want to be remembered as?” Most parents I know make a genuine effort to be “good” parents. However, if we are not intentional with our goals and plans, it is easy for time to just slip away. What have you done with your kids this summer? Have you made memories?
Don’t misunderstand me. I’m not saying that you have to take the family on a grand vacation. That may or may not be feasible. There are many free or inexpensive activities for families. I frequently ask my clients about family time. All too often, the response I get is that the family is together often, but not engaging in any communication or activity. For example, the whole family is in the living room in the evenings, but each of them are on a separate electronic device and no interaction is taking place.
How do we break that monotonous cycle? Make a plan. Take a step towards being a family that interacts and spends quality time together. A great place to start is by going to www.travelok.com. This website gives many suggestions for activities and events. There is even a section of free attractions.
You may have 18 years before little Johnny or Sally will be grown, but there is only one summer between 3rd and 4th grades or between middle school and high school. What will your child remember about that summer? Will they have fond memories of family spending time together or will that be the summer of Netflix? Get up. Be active. Set an example that your children will follow with their children. There is still enough time left this summer to make those memories, have that fun. Don’t let such a precious resource pass without using it wisely. How many of you regret time you have spent with loved ones? I have never regretted time with my family, but I can think of a movie or two that I would like to “unwatch”. Get out there and seize the summer! Edmond Family Counseling is Edmond’s community mental health resource. To learn more about Edmond Family Counseling, or to get involved and support the mission, log onto www.edmondfamily.org .