April 11, 2016, The Epoch Times
‘Round these parts, spring has sprung. (Somebody please tell Mother Nature.) Before shifting our focus to the garden and all the delights of spring, however, might I suggest a brief sojourn into summer?
That’s right—sunny, warm, kids-are-out-of-school-for-three-months summer.
Because summertime offers the greatest opportunity for an abundance of quality family time, valuable educational experiences, immense freedom, and wonderful childhood memories.To make the most of this opportunity, it helps to have a plan.
The time to plan is now. So, light a coconut candle, pour an iced beverage, cue Olaf, and “imagine what it’ll be like when summer does come. Ahh…”
Craft Project: The Summer Vision Board
Before diving into summer camp brochures, before researching vacation destinations, before getting sucked into what “everybody else is doing,” before committing yourself and your family—it’s craft time.
You’ll need: a poster board, catalogs, magazines, a printer, glue, crayons, markers, paper, and any other fun craft supplies you enjoy working with.
As a family, cut out, print, or create images that represent what your ideal summer would look like. Encourage your kids and your spouse to dream big! Throw caution to the wind. Disregard constraints and simply envision what the best possible summer would look like if there were no restrictions of any kind.
Encourage each family member to be true to themselves and ensure everyone that there are no silly ideas and no wrong answers. Remind yourself, too!
Design your board any way you wish. It can be any size and any shape. Perhaps each family member gets his or her own section. Perhaps all of the images are mixed together. It’s completely up to you.
Hang the finished project in a prominent place in your home. Wait at least a week before making any further summer plans.
Study Your Vision
Once on display, your family’s hopes and dreams will be staring at you through your fun craft project. Does anything surprise you? Is it all so far fetched? Is there anything you can do this coming summer to inch any of these ideas toward fruition? Do you notice the things that are not there? Are your family members learning more about each other?
Looking at your family’s creation, what themes do you notice? Are there certain categories these images fall into?
For example, if there are pictures of different kinds of toys, perhaps your kids are really wishing for more free time to play. If there are pictures of far away places, likely some or all of you are wishing for more travel.
Try to identify no more than a handful of categories that summarizes your family’s vision.
Lay Down Some Plans
After living with your family’s vision board for a week or two, open your calendar to the glorious summer months.
With vision board in sight and main themes in mind, begin to schedule the things you presently deem “doable.” Get as many as you can firmly scheduled in your calendar. Be careful to notice images that represent down-time or free time. Perhaps that is something you wish to schedule, too.
Before closing your calendar, get something on there that feels like a stretch or just slightly out of reach. Put it down as a goal and see, as time passes, if you can do anything to make it happen.
Frame the Day-to-Day
You’ll likely find pictures that represent habits or day-to-day routines. Consider summer from a weekly and daily perspective.
For example, perhaps you’ll want to take your kids to the park on Wednesday mornings and to the library on Thursday afternoons. Perhaps you and your spouse would like to have a date night each Friday. Perhaps you want to schedule a nap every day at 3 or a run every morning at 6.
Begin to build the framework of your summer routine with the delightful knowledge it can all be thrown out the window at any time because it’s summer!
Once scheduled begin to make the arrangements you’ll need to see this plan through. Arrange for childcare and vacation time. Consider the time and financial resources this will require.
Continue to Dream
Continue to enjoy the vision you created with your family. It represents a truth that lies within each of you that you can all celebrate together. Who knows? At the end of the summer you may be surprised how much of it becomes a reality.