We are a family of adventurers.

We enjoy grand road trips, wild untamed cuisine, and spontaneous events.

We also like parks, hammocks strung between any two trees, a walk to the library, and a fifty-cent pop from the soda machine at the used car dealership at the end of the block.

Adventure can look big and bold, and it can look regular and every day. I think it’s the spirit of the moment that creates adventure no matter where you are.

Today, my goal is to convince you to adventure this summer.

You can stay home, or you can go and do. Either can be considered within the realm of adventure.

You can create intimate moments or you can imagine meet-ups and celebrations, but I believe that every family needs a touch of adventure.

Why? Because curiosity is not only healthy for our development and continued learning and growth. It keeps our grey matter ripe with plasticity (a fancy word for able to grow new brain cells), but most importantly curiosity encourages our relationships to good health.

We are people created by God to connect. This is not an optional life skill. Connection is life to our souls. The more we find out about how our brains work, the closer we get to understanding the link between connection and every other human need and growth area. (For more on this, findfun research links at the end of this post.)

Isn’t it nice when science catches up to what we already know from God? The first thing God does after creating man is create connection between people by creating families.

The struggle is that most days we just have so much to do, so much to accomplish, that real, meaningful connection can fall to last place on the list, and if you’re like me, last place looks like the scary mom, crabbing at people to get into bed, trying to grab a moment for a book and a prayer, and hoping no one was scarred for life. Praise the Lord for Jesus and the connecting grace He brings into our homes. Because of the hectic of life…

in our family, we date.

We have been able to hold on to connection – solid, deep, meaningful family connection – in the day-to-day hectic of our lives, by setting time aside for adventures.

This summer, I’d like to help you date your family.

What does dating your family look like?

It’s more a mindset, but it’s also tangible action.

Mindset: We actually want to spend time together, even though it’s really, really difficult sometimes, so we will need to be creative.

Tangible action: Put it on the calendar.

Put up a tent and have a campout in the backyard, but put it on the calendar.

Is it someone’s birthday? Share one entree between everyone at four restaurants, rather than simply going out to eat.

We call this Foodabration. Put it on the calendar.

Parks are great and free. Make one evening park evening and visit three local parks instead of haphazardly meandering to the park down the street.

If you have little kids, three playgrounds in one night will sound to them like they won the Powerball. If you have teens – picnic food for the win! Put it on the calendar.

Anything to prolong the moments and actually make them happen.

Do you have sports and lessons and…and…and…and on the schedule? Yep. Pack a gallon ziploc bag with a seek and find book, mechanical pencils, and pieces of candy or star stickers. Pass the book around the family for the evening or a week, challenging everyone to find one word and pass it to the next person, around and around. When you get a word, you get a sticker or a piece of candy. Am I confusing you? Maybe, because I’m making it up as I go along, but the point is to make it up, to try it, and you guessed it:

put it on the calendar.

Anything to create connection, to create a moment in the middle of this running, going, doing life.

Maybe the extra boost we all need is to know it’s good for our brain health.

Maybe the extra boost we need is to know summer is really only two months long and the kids will be in our house non-stop anyway, so something to look forward to will be good for all of us anyway?

Maybe the extra boost we need is to know there are only so many two month summers left until they have their own lives, their own commitments, their own plans.

Maybe the extra boost we all need is a little friendship, fun, and accountability, so I’m starting a summer hashtag – #datingmyfamily. There are only 15 prior posts for #datingmyfamily on Instagram, so I’m pretty sure we can easily make this a thing.

Show us how you date your family. Make it simple, make it big, make it both. The moments matter, but how you do it really doesn’t. We’ll get ideas from each other and share in this beautiful life together. Use the hashtag on any social media or don’t use it.

This summer, let’s date our families.

To help you out, my friend and early childhood guru Jamie and her nephew Zach, a creative and fun-loving college student, helped me to compile this stellar and creative list –

90 ideas for Dating Your Family

Remember – put it on the calendar this summer.

If you need me, I’ll be #datingmyfamily this summer. 😉

Resources:

On Curiosity and Relationships – Berkley

The Basics of the Brain and Curiosity – NPR

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