“Refrain from anger, and forsake wrath! Fret not yourself; it tends only to evil.” Psalm 37:8
Sherlock (family dog) and I just finished a hike along a creek with a canopy of trees draping over to shield the sun’s rays. A gentle breeze fluctuated through the trail. It was peaceful and therapeutic; plus, (extra awesome) it was exercise that I enjoyed.
Exercise isn’t totally my arch nemesis. I enjoy the feeling after I’m finished. It’s like a chore. I know I need to do it, but I’d rather do something else. Exercise is my anti-depressant of choice, though. I know exactly how long I have to walk and at what intensity for my endorphins to kick in. Or maybe it’s the amount of endorphins produced with the level of exercise that I recognize. Sounds like a math equation. Whatever it is, I know I have to exercise for more than thirty minutes a day at a level beyond meditative walk, to keep from being a mean and sluggish wife and mom. This fact is very important with the arrival of summer.
Summer. I love summer. It is the necessary break in the school year that allows my kids to explore, create, dream, read for amusement, and rest the mundane routine. It’s soul rejuvenation. It’s random. It’s fun.
It’s also spending time together. Lots of time together.
While during the school year I fight for family time, summer allows an abundance of opportunity. Opportunity that sometimes invites conflict as we learn to work as a team here at Thorntonville. Through the years I’ve learned a few things that have helped cut down on anger inducing conflict. These aren’t conflict resolution suggestions, they are prep work to help lift attitudes and create a kinder environment, therefore cutting down on the moodiness that leads to conflict.
Here is what has worked for me.
- Like me, my kids need exercise. I don’t specify (Anymore! I learned that one the hard way.) the form exercise takes. It could be canoeing, hiking, playing Frisbee golf, creating obstacle courses, swimming, biking, etc. Although, I have drawn the line at “hammocking”, unless, of course, there is a hike before it. Some form of exercise is required daily for optimal endorphin levels at Thorntonville.
- Like me, my kids need some order. Chores are required. From yard work to house care, I need help and they need life skills. Work is divided evenly according to difficulty. Sometimes they are paid, other times the work is just expected. That’s life, isn’t it?
- Like me, my kids need God. I try to encourage daily devotions, a prayer life, tithing of earnings and acts of service. Yes, I give them reminders. Daily devotions may come from an app on their phone, a book or a pure and simple scripture reading (like today’s: Psalm 37:1-9).
The rest of summer is filled with large doses of flexibility, mixed with later nights, random outings, mission trips, camp, summer jobs and lazy days.
That is until August. When I’m screaming about how much I need a schedule.