As usual, when I realized I was on the schedule to write this week’s “Practicing with Children” post, I panicked. Because I haven’t been practicing anything with my children lately. Except getting them to the end of the school year. And getting them to clean the house for the graduation party. And hiding from them because they may be on summer break, but I still have to work which means I need to have a conference call somewhere in the house where I won’t be interrupted.
“What in the world,” I thought, “can I possibly write about this week?”.
Then I remembered the walk we took last night. The dog gets a walk every night, but it’s often a perfunctory chore performed by one parent while the other supervises bed time for the kids. Since it’s summer, though, the evening walk became a family affair for my now-7th-grade daughter, my husband, and myself.
We admired the bunnies. (Our dog is particularly fond of them.) We watched the birds. We found a small branch that had fallen from a cottonwood tree that was dripping with fluffy cotton wisps. My daughter decided to take the branch home and got upset when pieces of cotton began falling off of the branch and drifting away. So then I carried the branch while she walked behind catching all of the cotton wisps. (My friends, this game will provide hours of entertainment!)
We weren’t consciously praying or talking about God or singing hymns. But for me, this time of enjoying each other and appreciating God’s creation was a spiritual practice. And so I wonder what other opportunities the summer months might bring for simple moments of togetherness and appreciation:
- Eating cold ice cream on a hot day
- Drawing with chalk on the driveway
- Going to the zoo
- Going to the library
- Blowing bubbles
- Cooking out
- Staying up a little late
- Having lunch together
I pray I will appreciate these moments when they come. And I thank God for the gifts the summer season brings.