Summer 2017 is here and, with it, the return of Significant Summer! Each year we make it our mission to equip you, parents, with ideas and resources to make the most of your summer months and we are excited to do so once again this year. We're continuing our 2017 theme of "Transforming Traditions" that we started back in January. This time we're asking you to consider how you can make the most of your "extraordinary" traditions. More about that later, but first a little information for those new to Significant Summer.
Significant Summer exists for the purpose of equipping and empowering you to make disciples in and through your home this summer! As parents, we get 18 summers with our kids before they leave our home and our hope is that every family at Watermark makes the most of those opportunities for things that will last forever. We believe parents can make simple but intentional plans to develop as a family in four key areas: Rest, Serve, Grow, and Play.
Once again, we've put together a Significant Summer Family Activity Book to serve as a simple guide for your summer. In it you will find a specific schedule of "challenges" for your family to participate in on certain weeks as well as other creative ideas in each of the four key areas for your family to consider doing together. There are simple definitions and memory verses for Rest, Serve, Grow and Play that you may want to commit to memory as well. Whether you use this as a step-by-step guide through the summer or a general guide to help you craft a unique plan for your family, our prayer is that this will be a tool you use to make your summer significant.
In January we kicked off an initiative for parents called "Transforming Traditions" where we defined a tradition as something you always do that transforms who you are and are becoming. All families have traditions and those traditions are transforming us in a variety of ways. The challenge of this year is to call families to transform their traditions so that their traditions are transforming them into the image of Christ (Romans 12:1-2). We talked about our "daily traditions" when we encouraged families to "Reclaim the Ordinary", but this summer we want to focus on the "extraordinary traditions".
"Extraordinary" traditions are those things you "always do" on special occasions like birthdays, holidays, or certain times of year. While Christmas and Thanksgiving traditions immediately come to our mind, summer time provides us an extended season of tradition that every child looks forward to. Whether it's later bedtimes, trips to Sonic for half price shakes after 8PM, or certain vacation spots we run to year after year, we are building traditions and memories that will shape our children for decades to come. These are prime opportunities for instilling and reinforcing faith, truth, joy, laughter, and grace into the life of your family.
As you consider your family traditions around the big holidays and birthdays, Significant Summer is focusing on some of the "lesser known" holidays. Each week for the next 8 weeks, we've created a Significant Summer activity around one of the "National Days" on your calendar. While it's not likely that you will create a long-standing tradition around "National Flip Flop Day", for instance, we hope that you are challenged to see how simple and meaningful it is to create a memory with your family that might have a lasting and eternal impact.
Each week, we will encourage you to "celebrate" one of these days by Resting, Growing, Playing or Serving together. Our hope is that you will consider how you could implement similar ideas around your favorite holidays and even kids' birthdays, among other things.
However your family chooses to participate this summer, our prayer is that you will not come to the end of the next two months and say, "We wasted it!" Take this simple plan, tweak it to serve the needs of your family, and make some significant moments together as you rest, grow, play and serve together. If you're the social media type, you can post pictures on Facebook, Instagram or Twitter using #SignificantSummer so that others can be encouraged.
Our prayer is that God might use this summer to nurture the faith of your family so that you all rest in His sovereignty, serve for the glory of the King, grow in your love for the Savior and delight together in the joy of the Lord.
Challenge: Take a family walk/run one day this week (hurry before it gets too hot) in honor of National Running Day. To make it more fun, consider running little mini-races along your way (sibling vs. sibling, kids vs. dad running backwards, etc.). During your walk/run, talk about what it takes to be a GREAT runner (i.e. training, discipline, practice, skill, nutrition, etc.). Ask your kids why they think someone would want to be a great runner (trophies, sports, fame, money, recognition, health, etc.). After your walk/run . . .
Read: 1 Corinthians 9:23-27
There are lots of ways to have a Significant Summer and the weekly challenges are just a few of those. The goal of the summer is to be purposeful as parents to grow the love you and your children have for the Lord and each other. Check out these additional resources for more ways to accomplish that goal.