There’s a lot we can’t control, but we can wrangle our family’s hopes and intentions into a plan that may have a life all its own.
What has your family crossed off your bucket list?
It’s late summer — there’s still time!
Something unexplainable happens when I gather my family before the start of summer to come up with a loose plan together.
I don’t mean logistics. We get clear on that, too. My son needs to have lots of say in his schedule, including camp and downtime choices. Of course — he’s 10. He is asserting himself as an individual.
Our simple mission statement focuses more on the heart. It doesn’t matter when you start. You can definitely begin now. It can be a plan for the week or the month or a special day before school begins. The key is asking everyone what they need and how they want to feel, and creatively coalescing those feelings into a vision — together.
Each of our desires and needs are drawn out and recorded. Then, we find ways to meet those needs together. Sometimes in fantasy, sometimes we can actually meet them more concretely. It is helpful to know what everyone’s hopes and intentions are for the summer, even if we can’t control the outcome of the whole thing.
What’s unexplainable is that the plan has a life of its own.
Our summer list was ephemeral and chaotic — not the vibe I was hoping for. I felt like I was wrangling and haranguing my little family to create even the simplest plan. And you know, that’s actually how it has played out! Chaos. Discordance. Pushing hard against limits. My. Wits. End!
Also — harmony, growth, celebration, family, friends, lots of time in water, writing time, snow cones, creativity and independence. All things that are on that list.
There’s still time. We are going to review the summer family mission statement we created and see how we want to top off the summer. When everyone feels seen and heard, when everyone’s needs are being met at least some of the time, we are more emotionally generous with each other as a family. No one feels overlooked.
So, will you try it? Ask everyone to come together, make it fun, write down every single feeling or thought. Gather lots of ideas for how to transform those feelings into reality. Everyone circles their top pick. Find a creative way to work that into the end of summer.
You can boil it down to one or two memorable activities. It doesn’t have to be expensive or time consuming. Just different enough that your whole family remembers.
Before you buy into the back to school hype, make some lasting memories together. There are still a few more weeks to go. Back in school already? Weekends count!
Revise your plan together based on everyone’s feelings and needs.
You’ve got this!
Kate Lynch (she/her): Parent of an amazing atypical kid, meditation coach, inclusive yoga teacher, and author. Kate has been teaching and cultivating community since 2002. She is the creator of the podcast and upcoming book, Mindfully Parenting Atypical Kids. Kate specializes in empowering parents of atypical kids to build resilience to anxiety.
Is stress getting the better of your parenting? Could you use some strategies, support and understanding? Do you never have time for self-care? How about 5 minutes a day for 5 days? 5 Days to Calmer Kinder Parenting. It’s FREE, so sign up now before your kid distracts you!