The school year is a grind for many. It’s hard to catch your breath, let alone be thoughtful about what you want to create in terms of your relationships. Just get things done, get through it, and look forward to the summer.
But what kind of summer?
As the school year is winding down and the summer is beginning, there’s an opportunity to be mindful, to reflect on where you are with those you love and to make sure you strengthen those bonds. That way, when the madness starts up again, you’re feeling grounded, individually and relationally.
It all starts with reflection. Consider whether you’re feeling as close as you want to your partner, children, and friends. Are you feeling emotionally connected to others?
If not, the odds are good they’re not feeling very connected to you either. And if you’ve noticed that your kids are listening to you less and acting out more, it might be because of that reduced sense of connection. Our kids behave best when they’re feeling close–when they feel heard, when they feel like you’re interested in them and enjoying them.
One of the things that often gets lost in the grind is the pleasure of each other’s company. There’s so much to get done in a typical evening: cooking, eating, extracurricular activities, homework, bedtime routines. It doesn’t leave a lot of room for connection.
That’s where the summer comes in. You’re probably under a lot fewer time constraints. The sun goes down later, so you might be staying up later. You’re (hopefully) feeling more relaxed.
But often, with more time, what rushes in to fill it is not connecting activities; it’s more screen time. TV, video games, computer, social media…and that’s not just the kids, it’s often the adults, too.
The way to connect with the people we love is to be deliberate about it, to make sure you’re turning things off and tuning in to one another more. Don’t just do the same things all summer that you did the rest of the year. If you do, you’re missing a great opportunity.
You don’t have to get as much done; that means you don’t have all those fights and all the stress of getting so much done. That can create space to simply have fun–to sit longer at the dinner table and have great conversations or to play games or do puzzles or whatever your family happens to be into.
It’s simple really: Have fun and feel closer. Happy summer!