Summer break starts in just a few weeks. Most parents of children under the age of eighteen are currently in enrollment mode. The mantra seems to be, “The more things your children have on their schedule, the better.”
The average child will attend camps, lessons and classes. A privileged few will also spend hours at a community or neighborhood pool playing with friends. And let’s not forget a long list of summer school assignments that are due the first day of the coming school year.
Other than a few hours of sleep, your kids probably have little “free time” in their summer. The idea that kids need time to be “bored” sounds borderline careless – like allowing your child to skip breakfast on a testing day.
Because they are so over scheduled, today’s young people are struggling. Not just from exhaustion, although that’s an issue, too.
With little free time, kids don’t have time to experiment. They can’t explore new interests – trying to self-educate on a topic. They don’t have time to find their own voice in the arts, instead of merely copying the voice assigned by an instructor.
Perhaps the saddest, is that young people often don’t have time to really develop a personal relationship with God. They don’t have a chance to ponder who God is, what He wants from them and who He created them to be. They don’t have time to reflect on their heart for God, their character or how God wants them to live their lives.
Young people need an opportunity to find answers to their doubts, develop a personal prayer life and meditate on God’s words. They need a chance to dream godly dreams. They need time to find their voice for serving others and sharing their faith.
What is the best thing you can give your kids this summer? Lots of unscheduled free time with no devices. In fact, it’s even better if you can adjust your schedule and spend extra time with them in “boredom”. You may just find you all have deeper faith and develop more towards your godly potential than in past tightly scheduled summers.
(Come back tomorrow for ideas of ways to encourage your kids to use their “boredom” productively!)