Just A Thought Or Two . . .
Summer Is A Time for Learning? Who is Teaching?
The 2013-2014 school year is quickly coming to an end. We look back and wonder where the months have gone. Yes, it is the middle of June. No more homework, no lunches to pack, or bedtime schedules. A vacation mentality is in the air.
We remember those summer days. We remember the excitement of looking forward to family vacations, the week at camp, and the neighborhood block parties. Our parents talked to us about summer safety that pretty much centered on how we rode our bikes, what chores needed to be finished, and who was allowed in the house while the parents were at work.
While the children of today can relate to our anticipation of summer plans, family concerns have certainly changed. While there are still discussions on bike safety and house rules, it is obviously a different world. Parents are rightfully concerned about supervision. Today families must monitor Internet choices, cell phone and twitter entries, cable television programs, and video games. “Summer time, and the livin’ is easy” has become “Summer time and life is even more complicated.”
Summer may mean carefree days but summer days may also be dangerous ones. The summer reality for many children today is quite simply too much free time, too little supervision, and too few healthy options. Physically, academically, socially, and spiritually children can be at risk.
Families must have a plan. Gone are the days of just teaching phone numbers, how to cross the street and not talking to strangers. Families are faced with incredible supervision responsibilities. Parents must teach behavior expectations and determine technology rules. Parents must know what is on their children’s computers. Who do they text? Who is electronically in your home? Children must understand that there is no right to privacy on the Internet. Children have the right to be safe and to have parents that help them make healthy decisions.
Children need effective teachers. Children need their parents. Teaching Christian values isn’t the same as teaching cooking or laundry. We can successfully teach these chores even if we aren’t thrilled about completing them ourselves. However, it is almost impossible to teach a child to praise God, love Jesus, and use the gifts of the Holy Spirit unless it is our truth. Every summer day may be filled with blessings and graces when parents embrace their sacred role.
Visiting a tide pool at low tide we can find a multitude of sea creatures that have been washed ashore from the depths of the sea. Pick one up. Most of these creatures simply withdraw within their protective shells. Instinctively, they know that they are safe as long as they remain within their strong shelter.
During the challenges of summer days, we are safe when we remain in Christ. We are protected from the temptations and stresses of life when Jesus is our shelter. Receiving the Eucharist strengthens our faith and integrity. Children need the reassurance that they have unlimited spiritual resources. Family prayer, attending Mass together, and service projects offer young people the security that can only be offered by a God who offers the ultimate safety plan.