Today’s Table Talk is provided by our wonderful MOAT friend, Kathleen Fischer.  She always has a good word on living family life.  I hope you enjoy her thoughts on “reclaiming” summer as much as I did.

Thanks for walking the road with me.  -Kay

“I’m wondering if something is wrong with me,” M began as she flopped down for our coaching session. “I feel as if I’m swimming upstream!” As we continued to chat, it became clear that M and her husband were not sending their kids to camp. . . not signing them up for a barrage of lessons . . . not planning extensive family travel . . . not hiring help to distract and divert. M ended her description of ‘what might be wrong’ with her by adding, “We want to reclaim summer.”

I was struck by the expression. “Reclaim summer? Tell me about that.”

“Well, my husband and I remember summers with such pleasure. But what we really loved was nothing. We went swimming each day; we went to the library each week for a pile of books; we invented things and enjoyed week-long Monopoly games. Friends came over and baked cookies on long hot summer afternoons. Nothing. Until we were bored, when we invented more stuff. That’s what we want our kids to have. Are we the only family?”  

“Reclaiming summer” begins by kids and parents getting clear about what makes a great summer. One terrific question to discuss would be, “At the end of August when school begins, how will you know if you’ve had a great summer or not?” Another great question might be, “What would a perfect summer day look like?” Too often families get swept along with what everyone else is doing. Summer becomes more exhausting than the school year, summer venues just one more opportunity for performance pressure on kids. Parents may be worried that kids will become bored; that part of the parent job description includes “Fun and Games Department.”

What if, by reclaiming summer, the entire family arrived at the end of  August  relaxed, refreshed, having had plenty of unstructured time to pursue hobbies, new pals, rest and yes, boredom? Ever notice how a little dullness can enhance the sparkle of new classes and old school pals? Why not effect a “reclamation act” of your own?

{Kathleen Fischer, speaker, author, family/parenting coach. For more information, or}

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