“As a child, I couldn’t wait for summer,” Sue writes. “What’s not to love? Fireflies. Popsicles. Campfires. Books. Barbeques. Beaches.
“As an adult I dreaded summer. What’s not to hate? Ants and Mosquitos. Oppressive humidity. Sunburns. Poison Ivy. And this body in a bathing suit? NOOOOOOO!”
HA! That’s the best description of summer—pros and cons—I (Dawn) have ever read!
Sue continues …
Memorial Day 1985. Only May and temperatures were already blistering. It was our first summer with multiple foster children—three teen boys— along with our “littles” (five kids under the age of five!). The prospect of a hot, miserable summer drained the life right out of me. Like the Psalmist said,
“My vitality was drained away as with the fever heat of summer” (Psalm 32:4).
I decided that I was going to find a way to change my own attitude from “grumpy” to “gleeful” and take summer back!
I developed a seven-step plan for upgrading my summer from grumpy to gleeful. Perhaps my plan will help you upgrade your own summer as well!
The underlying principle is to become like a child.
Summer was made for children and childlike wonder. “Children are the kingdom’s pride and joy. Mark this: Unless you accept God’s kingdom in the simplicity of a child, you’ll never get in” (Luke 18:15-17, The Message).
You can do all of these things on your own, even as a fifty-something “empty-nester,” but they are better when shared with a child—so grab your children, grandchildren or neighbor’s children and get your glee on!
1. GROW something: Get your hands dirty. Experience the thrill of eating a tomato from the vine, letting the juices run down your chin. Bring new life to the lesson of the sower and seeds.
2. LEARN something: Read. Check out that museum in town you’ve never visited. Add a new word to your vocabulary every day. Practice sign language.
3. ELIMINATE something: Put the song “Let it Go!” on. Sing it loudly—off-key is okay!—and get rid of stuff. Donate. Recycle. Toss. It’s freeing.
4. EXPLORE & Experiment: Try something new. That first “gleeful” summer we boldly took eight kids on a cross-country camping trip. We explored and took risks. We experimented with the idea that we could live as frugally on the road as we could at home. And we did!
5. FLIP over something: Somersault on the lawn. Jump on the trampoline. Cannonball into the pool. Be silly and find what excites you. Catch fireflies. Watch fireworks. Be present, in the moment, completely head-over-heals enjoying the activity at hand.
6. UPLIFT someone: One year, our kids held weekly lemonade stands to raise money for earthquake victims in Haiti. Find your passion and make a difference.
7. LEAVE a lasting LEGACY: More than anything money can buy, children crave your time and presence. Sleep under the stars. Tell ghost stories by candlelight during a thunderstorm.
Upgrade to a GLEEFUL summer—what’s not to love? Fireflies. Popsicles. Campfires. Books. Barbeques. Beaches. And always, amazing memories!
Which of these “get your glee on” ideas inspired you? How can you “become like a child” today?
Sue Badeau is a nationally known speaker, author, and child welfare and trauma expert. Sue and her husband Hector are lifetime parents of twenty-two children—two by birth and twenty adopted. They wrote the book Are We There Yet: The Ultimate Road Trip Adopting and Raising 22 Kids. Sue’s new Kindle book is Volume 3, “Never Too Old” in the Summer in Sweetland series. Learn more about Sue at suebadeau.com and badeaufamily.com.
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