MAKE IT AN UNFORGETTABLE SUMMER!

Your kids know it’s coming. Teachers are counting the seconds of each day. You, as parents, know it’s coming even though you do your best to try to avoid thinking about it. Yes.......it’s true. Summer is on its way. We’re talking beaches, theme parks, swimming, AAU sports, and summer camps of all kinds. For kids, it means sleeping in, being lazy, and ignoring the summer reading list they promised to complete. For many parents, it means worrying about what their kids are doing while they are away at work, yelling at the kids to get out of bed because it’s 7 o’clock.......p.m., or marking off the calendar until the next school year begins.

But, summer could be awesome for the whole family. In fact, that is what I want to propose to all of you parents. I want to challenge you to be intentional about making this summer the kind of summer that nobody in the family will ever forget (and I mean in a good way).

Wouldn’t it be great to create a summer full of memories that your kids will treasure forever? For those of us who were blessed enough to have pleasant feelings in remembering our childhood, I would propose that those happy emotions come mostly from the memories that our family made together. Personally, I remember being five years old when my dad would let me sit on his lap and steer the car on family vacations. Now, it’s true that my mom is still in therapy for this but, hey, I felt like I was the king of the world. Okay, my mom is not in therapy and I don’t even remember if I did a good job (although I might boast that we are still in one piece), but the point is that my dad made me feel valued and important and dangerous and I remember that. I remember lots of things we did as a family from visiting Niagra Falls to the Baseball Hall of Fame, to the Grand Ole Opry. Obviously, a thirteen year old was not super excited to go to the Grand Ole Opry but I still remember it because of the memories we made; like my mother beating me at ping pong (although who can forget when she mentions it at least ever other visit), or swimming with my parents in the hotel pool, or winning a Louise Mandrel poster on a tour bus. These things may seem little but they created memories of my time with my parents and those are things that never go away.

Parents, I know you are busy. I know time is precious, but so are your children and so are the relatively few amount of years you have a chance to leave lasting impressions on your kids. You don’t have to take them on countless expensive trips this summer. I’m not saying that, necessarily. I’m saying be intentional and creative in exposing your children to a variety of fun things. Mix it up. Make some trips about your interests and some about theirs. But make sure you add silly and fun things to whatever trip you take. Here are some ideas:

1. Family camping trip; hiking, canoeing, fishing, talking under the stars...

2. A day at a water park: just good, silly, wet fun.

3. Take dance lessons as a family. Make sure you acknowledge that dad and sons may find it silly........let them have their fun but, in the end, you all will remember it.

4. Go to a major league baseball game; buy hot dogs, oversized foamy fingers, pennants, and do anything you can to get on the big screen (as long as you don’t get arrested).

5. Rent wave runners at a lake and cook out.

The potential for fun is endless and you should base it on your family’s likes and dislikes. Have fun with it.

Finally, let me suggest that you buy each family member a disposable camera before any trip or event or outing you have. Let them take whatever pictures they want and as many as they want. Then, either buy a family photo album or one for each family member. After every trip, place the best pictures into the album. By the end of the summer, try to fill up each album with pictures and..............the whole point of it.........memories. As the years go by all of you will have living proof that the summer of 2007 (and any summer) was unforgettable.

About the Author: Aaron Welch is a Licensed Mental Health Counselor who has devoted his life to reaching out and helping people to grow and mature through difficult life situations. Whether it has been through clinical counseling, pastoral ministry, youth camps and conventions, public speaking, leadership training, educational instruction, athletic coaching or small group ministry, Aaron has over eighteen years of experience in assisting people through life struggles and personal growth. His genuine love for people and his outgoing personality combine to create a safe and caring environment for putting the pieces of life back together

The LifeWorks Group, Inc.
1850 Lee Rd. Suite 250, Winter Park, FL 32789
407-647-7005, www.LifeWorksGroup.org

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