I looked out my kitchen window Sunday night, the kids were running down the slip and slide holding hands, full of smiles and shrieks of laughter. It’s the start of summer, school is out, the weather is hot and copious amounts of watermelon and popsicles are being consumed faster than I can keep stocked in this house. For all of winter we dream of these warm summer months and all too fast they quickly vanish into cooler days.
At the beginning of every summer I like to make a bucket list with the kids to gather everyone’s ideas, dreams and goals for the months ahead. From things they would like to do, places to visit or time spent. It can be very simple from having a campfire in the backyard or watching the sunset to a dream vacation. There are usually a large amount of repeats we have every year, activities that have become tradition, almost an ingrained part of our family’s summer routine. I love hearing my children’s thoughts into what they envision for summer. While we won’t get everything checked off the bucket list, it gives us a good framework to plan the days and months ahead.
When I was hit with the reality that summer was finally here, in a quick panicked frenzy I signed us up for a Catholic Family Camp to ensure that at least something was on the calendar. The truth is these summer months go by so quickly, this short time of togetherness is fleeting. Our children will be back in school, another year older and another year closer to being on their own before we realize it.
It is here in the family that our children are molded, formed and given a foundation. While school may be out, we as parents are the primary educators encouraging their growth in holiness and shaping their hearts. While seasons of life and friends change, it is the family that provides the ever constant love, support and stability.
Our annual bucket list has evolved over the years. I started making the list as a way to make sure we squeezed every last drop out of summer. Now it has become so much more, a tool to be able to create and schedule intentional time together as a family. Sure it also provides fun and new experiences, but even more so it is intentional time set aside between the sports, camps and running kids in different directions, which all too often can make up most of our summer. Opportunities for siblings to form bonds that last a lifetime.
Whether a vacation, daycation or staycation it is making room for time to share, moments to have, lessons to teach and memories to be made. Carving out time for the sacredness of family life, making room in the busyness and hustle to simply be. To be present to our children, present to the image of God they bear.
The history of mankind, the history of salvation, passes by way of the family. St. John Paul II
Three Tips for Making Your Summer Bucket List:
- Reflect on previous summers. What activities did your family particularly enjoy that you would want to do again.
- Keep it local. Include ventures around your own house and in your backyard.
- Focus on togetherness. Choose activities where all or most of the family is involved.