I am that mom that makes my kids finish the textbooks they bring home from school. “Everyone choose one page from each workbook per day! They’ll be finished in no time! Isn’t this fun?!”
My cheery attitude has no effect on my kids, who glare at me unabashedly.
Last summer we had days –
Monday Make Something: Crafts, cooking, projects
Tuesday To Do Lists: House projects and errands
Wednesday Wet Fun: sprinklers, water balloons, city pool you name it
Thursday Thankfulness: visiting people, making things for people, showing some love
Friday Fitness Challenge: biking, hiking, obstacle courses, etc.
I can describe the whole thing at length per request, but that’s not the point of this blog. It was fun. I’m a proponent of the whole idea.
The summer before last we focused on a science and writing project each day. Before that we earned marbles for chores and workbook pages and projects completed. Before that we covered topics of the week and topics of the month.
Every summer my wild and zealous learning ideas are met with grumbles and general grouchiness. (Ooooo- alliteration!)
So here is what I am going to offer you this summer, children –
One summer of nothingness.
A summer enhanced by boredom and lethargy, a summer where you have to make up stuff for yourself and use the imaginations I know you have down deep. You can make your own snacks and find toys you forgot you had. You can spontaneously visit a friend and lay around at their house for a change of scenery. And those textbooks…I’m going to take a deep breath and pitch them, burn them, whatever. I promise you they won’t make an appearance. (All my teacher friends…try to exhale.)
Boredom is the new black. It looks good on you Goehmann’s.
Why nothing? That’s the million dollar question. It’s an attempt at giving my children the chance to have their voices heard. Believing that one summer of nothingness will not rot their brains. Subscribing and actually living out my belief that children will learn no matter what they do, especially if I step back and let them discover on their own. Most importantly…
Letting them just be. Quietly teaching them to just be.
Because that’s something I’m not very good at, and I’d like to pass down a better legacy than being just like me.
Jesus was especially good at just be-ing. While our world is technical and vast and fast paced, Jesus’s world was in no way less busy. People grew things to survive, for the love of Pete, or shopped the marketplace. I have shopped a city marketplace in a country for daily rations, and while it sounds fun, it’s a lot to take in and not so fun when your hunting down food for six…every day.
People also wanted Jesus’s attention. Crowds clamored. He was surrounded by need. He was intensely aware of every person’s value that sought him out, and every person that didn’t.
“Then, because so many people were coming and going that they did not even have a chance to eat, he said to them, “Come with me by yourselves to a quiet place and get some rest.” (Mark 6:31)
This, really, is our summer of rest. We have done a lot, recovered from a lot, cared a lot, learned a lot, sought a lot. It’s ok to rest…a lot.
Children- may you be blessed by our summer of nothingness. Nothingness has quickly turned into library visits, Star Trek action filled play, water balloon and water bucket fights, homemade cookies, and sitting around discussing what God is doing in our lives and what we wish He was doing in our lives, and a creative venture for making a new youtube channel.
Great things happen when we step back a bit, let Him work, and embrace nothingness. This isn’t an idea for every summer, every day. But for this summer- it feels just right.