At the end of one summer years ago, I asked my boys if they had a good summer or if they were bored. The eagerly began talking about all the memories from the summer, and I felt joy in knowing they were content with how it turned out.

They remembered Bible camp, art classes, and road trips. They remembered making extra money working for others and hanging out with friends. They talked about exercising together, swimming, camping, our family reunion, our garden, and going to the library, and garage sales.

I’m glad they have those memories. Even more important is that someday they’ll hopefully understand the life lessons – the ones they helped me learn – behind these experiences.

  1. Just enough sometimes is okay. At the beginning of summer, I decided to do just the bare minimum with my work and personal projects. This approach allowed for more time with my boys. Doing just enough in one area allowed me to do more than enough in another.
  2. Responsibility sometimes means losing control. With my youngest entering middle school this year, we focused on teaching responsibility. Through some tough days, I learned that I needed to give up controlling my boys in order for them to truly learn responsibility.
  3. Interaction forces application. During the school year, most of my days were spent alone. Summertime meant being with my boys most of the time. All that I read, studied, and learned during my alone times were forced into application. Patience. Flexibility. Compromise. Preferring. Time to apply and prove my own learning completed during the school year.
  4. The best memories exist in ordinary moments. We had many out-of-the-ordinary moments, but the moments that resonate the most are ones made during ordinary living. Grocery shopping. Cooking. Exercising. Practicing sports. Reading. Gardening. Yard work. Everyday living is often the best opportunity for connection.

“Train up a child in the way he should go, and when he is old, he will not depart from it.” (Proverbs 22:6)

This verse use to mean teaching scripture and the importance of spending time with God and His Word. It also meant teaching the value of prayer and fellowship. While all of these are true, I now realize there’s more to it.

Training a child “in the way that he should go” also means showing how Jesus impacts your life. It means making sure your children know He truly directs your steps (Proverbs 16:9). It means that though my imperfections often shine all too clearly, His forgiveness and grace shine brighter.

As my boys remember our summers together during adulthood, I want them to remember seeing Jesus in me. I want them to understand the Holy Spirit’s work in my life. Hopefully, this will help them better know how he wants to work in their lives, too.