Summer Goals: Time to Focus

As the weather warms and schools lets out, how can we approach the months ahead? While the summer allows us plenty of time to enjoy relaxation, it all can also offer us the opportunity to focus on areas of needed growth. Growing spiritually to be conformed into the image of Christ Jesus should be a lifelong aim.

But grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. To him be the glory both now and to the day of eternity. Amen (2 Peter 3:18).

Make downtime matter

My husband and I worked on a college campus for years. We were involved in residence life and helped to plan the “life lessons curriculum” for students. We planned for events and programs to cover academic, physical, social, cultural, and spiritual areas. Throughout any given year, the students we lived and worked with would experience opportunities to grow and develop across a wide range of topics.

Set goals for growth

What would happen if we looked at our summer season with our children in a similar way? What if we approached this season of downtime with an eye on offering our children the chance to:

  • Grow academically, possibly strengthening areas of schoolwork that are more difficult for them
  • Develop new physical skills or fine-tune athletic abilities
  • Connect with friends and deepen our children’s ability to interact with others socially
  • Observe and interact with art, music, drama and increase appreciation for these areas of culture
  • Get to know their Lord and Savior in a much deeper way through family devotions, personal quiet time, and new opportunities to grow spiritually

You can guide change

This sounds overwhelming, I know. Who has the ability to plan and oversee the development of their children in all of these areas? You do. Seriously, you do. Grab a pen and paper and a glass of cold lemonade. Sit still for a few minutes, maybe with your spouse, and briefly talk through each of these points. You know your children best. You know their needs and you know their strengths. This summer, we have the chance to focus, not only on our kids, but on what they need.

State your goals

Write down one or two objectives for each category of growth. Maybe you’d like to have your son do a single page of math facts each morning, or sign him up for swimming lessons or soccer camp. Maybe you want to schedule a standing weekly playdate for your daughter, or just be more intentional about inviting friends to the park or the pool with her.

Create life-long learning habits

With school out, we can find time to help them to grow and develop in new and different ways. We can expose them to opportunities that we do not have time and energy for during the school year, like taking them to a concert or teaching them how to keep a prayer journal. Taking the time to do this will enhance their academic careers and encourage them to see all of life as an opportunity to grow and learn. It is also a way for you to love them—thoughtfully, practically, intentionally.

What does this mean for you? What do you hope to do with your family this summer that will encourage growth and development? How will you balance this with downtime and relaxation?

About the author — Nadia Swearingen-Friesen

Nadia Swearingen-Friesen is a writer and national speaker with a passion for empowering parents to approach their families with great intentionality and grace.  Nadia and her husband, Mark, are the parents of four children and live in the Chicago area. Nadia also blogs at

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