Summer Goals

Every summer we set goals. What kind of goals, you ask? Well, for the past few years they’ve fallen into two categories. The first category includes the Lifeskills training I mentioned in one of my June Blog entries.

But the other category includes the fun goals. Just stuff we want to make sure we do before these sweet days of summer come to an end.

When our kids were little, their goals were so cute.

· Try to get all the way across the monkey bars without stopping.
· Learn to ride my two-wheeler all the way around the cul-de-sac.
· Put my face all the way underwater in the pool.
· Have ice cream for dinner.

Then, when they got a little older, their goals sounded more like…

· Go on family bike rides.
· Take a family fishing trip.
· Go swimming.
· Have backyard campfires with s’mores.
· Have ice cream for dinner.

Now we’re dealing with teenagers. And their summer goals tend to revolve around friends.

· Go on bike rides, with friends.
· Go swimming, with friends.
· Have sleepovers, with friends.
· Go to the movies, with friends.
· Have ice cream for dinner.

Our 16-year-old just returned from a week-long church camp. For two nights straight, as I kissed her goodnight, the last thing she said to me before I turned out the light was “I wish I was still at camp.”

Now at first blush, one might be thinking, gee, aren’t I fun to be around? In fact, that was something along the lines of what my hubby was thinking when I told him what she’d said. He thought this was not a good thing. “She’s letting her friendships have priority over family,” was the gist of his response.

But then I asked him, “When you were a teenager and in high school, who did you prefer to spend time with? Your parents or your friends?”

“My parents,” he replied without missing a beat.


“Yeah, right.”

Then he started laughing.

We both realize this is a normal transition phase that teens go through. That we went through. It’s one of those first steps in growing up—and away.

Sure it’s a little sad, but as with all phases of our kids’ development, there are pluses and minuses to each of them. I enjoy knowing our children are forging healthy relationships with good kids. And during the times we do have together as a family, our discussions have grown rich and interesting as we listen to our children develop their own ideas and views on things. Plus, now that they’re older we can all stay up later on summer nights playing games or watching movies with no guilt about missed bedtimes.

As our teens grow and change, and our summer goals evolve to meet those changes, there are some things that do steadfastly remain the same. Like for some reason they still want to join us when it’s and “ice-cream for dinner” night.

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