Helping your family thrive in summer

School’s out for summer … but now what? Summer in Indianapolis presents some unique opportunities and challenges for families who want to create memorable experiences. As someone with a large family who is still relatively new to the city, I wanted to share a few things we’ve learned that might help your family thrive during this season.

Be Intentional

For many of us, summer is a great time to pull back from the chaos of the school year and get organic with our schedules. While there is certainly a place for a more relaxed rhythm during the summer (see below), we’ve found that we still have to plan intentionally to love each other well. Without a basic plan, we can fall into a reactionary pattern and miss out on opportunities to create meaningful memories for our family.

Each year, Emily and I get together for intentional conversation and prayer about our summer goals. We try to take into account how we’re doing physically, spiritually, emotionally, and socially and where we’d like to move the needle. Overall, we ask two simple questions that help shape our planning:

  • What shared experiences are God calling us to pursue that will unite our hearts and shape our kids’ desires towards what we want them to love in the future?
  • What specific resources do we need to invest (time, money, researching, friendships) to make this plan a reality?

Stay Connected

Summer is an easy time to drift away from the community of friendships that we’ve built during the rest of the year. While commitments to sports, family travel, weddings, and work may occupy a good chunk of our time in this season, I want to encourage you not to lose momentum with your community at Soma.

Consider creatively changing up, rather than withdrawing from, your rhythms of community during the summer. Play sports together. Go to the pool with the kids together. Host lunch in the park together Sundays after church. Take day trips together to nearby state parks or lakes. Walk with a group to grab dinner and ice cream off the Monon Trail.

We’ve noticed that when people “take a break” from community during the summer, it makes it extremely difficult to reconnect when school starts back in the fall. Most importantly, you miss out on opportunities to build shared memories that carry you into the next season of the year.

Rest Well

Summer is an invitation from God to break from the grind of the year and replenish our bodies, minds, and souls. Rest reminds us that we are humans and that we are dependent on God as the source of flourishing for our families.

In your planning (especially if you’re Type A), make sure that you don’t overschedule your summer in a way that eliminates the margin needed for holistic rest.

Build in time to rest your soul by reading the Scriptures, praying, singing, attending Sunday gatherings with your church family, and observing a 24 hour “Sabbath” rest each week.

Build in time to rest your body by eating well, getting enough sleep, and switching up your exercise routines.

Build in time to rest your mind by powering down technology, getting outside to enjoy nature (IMA, state parks, Indianapolis Zoo, Connor Prairie), and reading some good fiction books.

While these ideas may or may not serve your family this summer, our hope is to see families thriving, not surviving, this summer in the city. What helps your family thrive in the summer? Feel free to share your ideas on our social media pages or with others in your community. 

Image: "Tamalada," by Carmen Lomas Garza