Do you want help setting summer goals that encompass the interests of each family member? Plans that include fun and productivity, adventure and relaxation, movie nights and home improvements projects? This guide will help you make a plan that the whole family will love.
This list is intended to be used as a guide that triggers your own thinking. It’s not meant to overwhelm or exhaust you. Add to it. Detour from it. And, if you find yourself shutting down, bottom-line the whole point…which is this:
Ask God for your family’s priorities for this summer, and invest your time, money, and energy in the things that align with these goals.
REALIZE THE IMPORTANCE OF A GAME PLAN. I know. That’s easier said than done. But, truly, without this, you’ll be running around like a frantic woman trying to keep up with the plans that others have dictated. This helps you decide the priorities and have the confidence to say YES to activities that align with them and NO to things that don’t…even great things.
If you want a little convincing, then here you go… otherwise, move on to number 2, my friend.
BENEFITS OF PLANNING:
- Gain wise and well-thought out priorities
- Own the schedule, rather than allowing the schedule to own you
- Lead calmly with purpose vs flippancy
- Create well-rounded plans that include much more than most do in a summer
- Gain incredible productivity and a strategic attack on your procrastination list
- Encompass each family member’s interests and skills
- Nurture passions
- Say no to things guilt free – even great things, and enthusiastically say yes to things that fit the plan
- Operate as a team, when your whole family has input
- Allows your family operate according to their own priorities, not keeping up with the Jonses
- Fosters others-focus vs self-focus
- Cultivates the tone in the home you want
- Gives a clear plan on important character traits to work on
- Clarifies the family budget
- Promotes excitement within your family for the summer game plan
2. SET A DATE TO PLAN. Grab your calendar. I know, old school, right? If that’s you questioning my age right now, no worries, pull up your calendar on your iPad. Whatever organizational system you have… set a date for this planning. Make it at least a few hours. Better to even be half a day. After all, you’ll need time for all your racing mind to slow down to a peaceful, quiet state.
3. HAVE TIME ALONE. In a quiet setting. Free from distractions of people and tasks. Your back porch, poolside, the bathtub, a hammock, the corner of your closet, or alone in the beauty and majesty of nature. (My favorite – see the photo above)
The thing is…you’ll actually be spending time with the Lord, asking him for wisdom.
I’m telling you…few Christians really do life like this. Seeking the Holy Spirit for the wisdom and insight and a STRATEGIC PLAN that encompasses the heart of each family member.
James 1:5 If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, who gives to all men liberally and without reproach, and it will be given to him.
Ask and expect to hear the Holy Spirit give you insight and ideas for shaping your little nation this summer. Desire his plan not your own plan.
Matthew 6:33 Seek ye first the kingdom of God and his righteousness and all these things shall be added unto you.
4. GATHER YOUR PLANNING TOOLS. Be efficient in your planning time by having these items. Be strategic on where you record your thoughts so you can locate, review, and add to it as needed.
Notebook and pen or laptop and fingers. Something on which to record ideas and your summer strategy. For what it’s worth, I use a spiral notebook. It’s my go-to place for recording thoughts and goals for summer as well as continuing throughout the year.
If you’re like me, when you have to get up to retrieve something, you very well may find yourself pulling weeds or cleaning the fridge, so I’ve found it much more productive to also have these items:
Schedules (school, appointments, sports, camps, holidays, school summer reading list, whatever you know to be part of the summer months)
Place to record items by ACTION STEPS NEEDED: TO DO,TO CALL, TO EMAIL, TO WRITE, TO RESEARCH, TO DISCUSS. and whatever patterns you discover so that you’ll make the most of the time later to tackle all of those outstanding phone calls you’ve been putting off like the dentist, doctor, orthodontist, mammogram (you know it’s true).
If you have lists that you refer to like, character qualities, chores, what to know before graduating
5. COMMUNE WITH THE HOLY SPIRIT. This is THE KEY to summer planning. I sit still and commune directly with him, and ask for his wisdom. I empty me of self and my narrow thinking, and open a clean slate, and invite him to show me anew, to give creativity, to give supernatural insight into the hearts of all family members. I ask, listen, ask some more, and record the insight and practical ideas he puts on my heart. This yields priorities from him unique to our family.
6. REVEAL MY BLIND SPOTS. Yes, I start with me. All that I say and do are a result of my heart, so I ask him to expose areas I need to deal with. These areas certainly affect my family.
Psalm 139: 23-24 Search me, O God, and know my heart; Try me, and know my anxieties; And see if there is any wicked way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting.
I ask God to examine my heart, exposing the truth I desperately need, and how I negatively impact others. The summer plan should most certainly incorporate addressing what is revealed.
- How is my heart?
- What are my areas of sin and blind spots?
- What ways my words or actions wound
- Effects I have on the tone in the home
- Distance between any family member and me and insight into their heart and specific ways I can build into that relationship
- How I’m perceived by my family. Owning my part in the truth. Addressing it.
- What are needed changes in my life?
- Where do I have wasted time, what needs to be eliminated or pulled back
- What goes into my eyes and mind?
- How I’m doing with fully engaging with family?
- Do I love others well, or am I critical, judgmental?
7. SEEK INSIGHT ON EACH FAMILY MEMBER. Conversing with the Holy Spirit is quite an amazing relationship available to all who are Christians.
So, ask for wisdom from the one who knows all things:
- Supernatural insight into the heart and unique make up of each family member
- Emerging passions and potential ministry ideas
- Ideas for cultivating hearts that see needs and meet needs
- Character qualities that need addressing
- Relationships within the home that need to be strengthened and ideas for it
I ask what training is needed in these areas, and if it’s a summer priority.
- Are they learning how to study the Bible and are they applying it?
- What people skills do we need to address?
- What leadership skills do we need to develop?
- What interests can we research or pursue?
- What activities, clubs, organizations, projects that could further the child’s giftings?
- What chores need to be learned?
- What talents, skills, interests can we invest in?
- What academic areas do we need to fine tune?
- What friendships can we cultivate?
- What books to read, projects to do?
- What relationships in the home can be fostered?
8. INSIGHT FOR AN OVERALL PLAN FOR THE FAMILY:
TIP FOR BEING EFFICIENT WITH TO DO’s: PROJECTS ARE IMPORTANT. I find I’m most efficient in tackling these often greatly-procrastinated items if, as an idea comes to mind, I categorize them by the action needed.
- To call
- To schedule
- To email
- To research
- To consider
- To buy – listed even by the store(s)
- To go – errands to make
- To give away
Action-needed categories help me keep a running list as I’m planning and enable me to be much more efficient with my time by sticking to one task during a time slot or making the most of my time doing errands
- Home improvement projects
- Yard work needed
- Organizational tasks
- Ways to simplify, reduce clutter
- Closets, clothes, drawers to sort
- Cabinets and drawers to organize, give away
- Appointments to schedule – dr, dentist, orthodontist
- To prepare for school…
- Research to be done- piano teacher, healthy eating
- Things to implement for a more efficient home
- Deep cleaning
- Shopping trips to be made
You’ve spent time hearing from the Lord. But, hearing from your husband and children is super important.
9. GET INPUT FROM ALL FAMILY MEMBERS. Listening to their opinions communicates respect, builds unity, and generates enthusiasm. Here are some ideas. But, relax, you don’t need to ask all of these. The point is to create an open forum for input that will be used in considering the summer’s goals.
- Favorite meals
- Ideas for family night
- Idea for one on one time with dad or mom
- Games to play this summer
- Favorite things to do with siblings
- Fun summer activities
- Friends/families to invite over and ideas for it
- Chores to learn (this sounds crazy, but help them see the bigger picture of teaching them to efficiently run a home one day)
- Academic requirements or desires
- Extracurricular activities of interest
- Ideas for ministry as a family and/or ministry they’d like to do
- Home project goals
- Yard project goals
- Vacation ideas within budget (let them dream, and discuss the real budget so they can think realistically)
- Mission trip ideas
- Shopping trips/items needed
- How can your family be hospitable this summer
10. LET THE WHOLE FAMILY KNOW. You’ll be operating in greater unity when everyone is aware of the game plan.
- Point out the God-designed, beautiful qualities in each family member. personality, skills, passions, their value to you, what they bring to the family dynamics, and the vision of their potential
Your words of affirmation for each family member, spoken openly in your home, not only builds up the individual, they shape the perception and words spoken by all others in the home.
- Tell them what God revealed about your blind spots. Ask for forgiveness where needed. Wow! Few have grown up in a home where this was modeled, but you have the opportunity to lead like this.
- Share the overall aim for your family this summer. Eliminations, additions.. and why. The heart you’re wanting to cultivate. The tone you’re aiming for in the home, with siblings, etc.
- Give them an overview of the summer schedule. special outings, ministry ops, vacation plans, activities, home and yard projects, academic expectations, etc
- Remind them of importance of flexibility. Unexpected priorities will arise and adaptation and maybe even grace will be needed.
- Give them a bottom line.
11. CALENDAR. Make things happen by plotting the priorities on your calendar. of fun, productivity, ministry and relaxation on the calendar.
- Put set-events/ schedules on calendar (ball games, camps, etc)
- Add most important priorities
- Vacations, weekend excursions
- Date night
- Family night or family outings – have each plan and execute one (or more)
- Down time – relaxing, doing nothing. Just being together at home.
- Ministry ideas
- Time with friends
Books to read, spiritual training to add back to the home
Have a summer balanced with family and others, ministry and laughter, vacation and time at home, adventure and learning, productivity and flexibility.
And truly, if this exhaustive list paralyzed you, ignore it all and just do this. Spend time alone with God and say, “Show me what you want for my family this summer, Lord.” Have your calendar and the activities you choose align with those priorities.
Rhonda #seekyourprioritiesfromGod Ellis