As a homeschooling mother the summers are hard for me. I am used to having my kids all to myself until at least 3pm each day. So when the sun comes up and my kids are already itching to go see if their friends can play and that continues until 8pm, I kind of lose it. It is just too much friend time and not enough family time.
I think my struggle is in wanting to know that their time is being well spent. Yes, play is part of life, but there is more to life than play.
In my desperation I called for a non-friend week to solve the problem. That came with a lot of bad attitudes. Understandable.
I only had one rule.
~They could only hang out with friends if I was with them and we were doing service.~
Well that motivated them like nothing else.
We ended up having a great week. My hunger for time with them was filled. I felt good that they couldn’t just run off and be gone for hours. I loved that we were serving together.
I have lifted the ban on hanging out with friends without me with one stipulation: whenever they hang out with friends they have to find a way to do service during that time or they can’t hang out. That’s it.
I have seen the look on the faces of their friends when I have suggested this. One even asked me if Indy will still need to do this once he is old enough to move out of the house… I replied, “I sure hope he would always want to.”
I can imagine a world where the youth are service minded. Where they know when they are together it is to do good. Where they do good even without their parents at their side.
I realize I am raising the bar, but I think it would do us all good if we raised it together and expected more of our already good natured children. Service can be a normal part of childhood and play. They are capable of it and it will help them to become the leaders they are meant to be.