I saw a graphic once noting that there are only 18 summers of childhood, and I’ve thought about that ever since.
We’ve already passed summer 18 with our oldest 3, yet in my mind’s eye, I can still see them as little ones like this young man was in summer 4. Now, though, our conversations are deeper, and the opportunities that lie ahead of them are greater and more exciting as they continue running the race God has called them to run.
The First 23 Summers that I’ve been a mom have been filled with countless amazing memories, yet I find myself wanting more. Our family has been blessed with more private jokes than we can count, better experiences together than we would have ever imagined, and God-given opportunities for which we’ll always be grateful.
You know what, though? As I look back over the summers, I never see a picture in my mind of what my house looked like on any given day, nor of how many times I went to bed with the dishes undone, both of which caused me no shortage of stress through the years.
I do remember the game nights after dinner that stretched so late we all decided to let the dishes wait until the morning.
I remember the chaos of Nerf wars that left me finding darts for days on end in the curtains and other places.
I remember pajama-clad drives to an ice cream stand for a surprise treat after bedtime.
I remember swimming in the ocean, hiking in the woods, having dinner conversations so bizarre and hilarious that anyone else would surely think we were insane, and I remember us all laughing and loving together all along the way.
In the busy-ness of the season or the stress of the moment, it’s really easy to completely lose sight of the very things that I promise you’ll look back on one day as most important. We’re so quick to choose in those moments to get laser focused on things of much lesser significance, and we tend to put so much pressure on the immediate that we lose sight of the eternal. Author Stephen Pressfield wisely noted that, “The Principle of Priority states (a) you must know the difference between what is urgent and what is important, and (b) you must do what’s important first.” He makes a pretty good point, doesn’t he?
But, how do you make that choice? How can you see clearly beyond the seemingly urgent things that seem to surround you all the time? How can you make it your normal response to prioritize the Important with your life?
Know your mission and understand your goals. Those two things will go a long way towards helping you keep the urgent from overcoming the important. And, most importantly, daily seek God’s face for wisdom for the day. Pray strategically for your family and watch in awe as He directs your steps. He’s so faithful to give you the words to say and to influence your choices.
Next, determine to get to know your children on a much deeper level this summer. Say YES! Play with them and learn to enjoy them in a whole new way. One of these days, you’ll look back, smile a smile that comes straight from your heart, and be so glad you did.
So, today, no matter what summer of childhood you are on, I encourage you to seize it! Make time for playing together, laughing together, reading together, and just being together. You may be surprised at how much you actually enjoy it—and how those dishes will still get done… eventually.