Friday, May 30, 2008

Summer Teachable Moments

Summer is upon us and you may be thinking, “How am I going to get through it!” Summer can be a wonderful time, but it can also be a bit of a trying time as we adjust to a new and different schedule. During the month of June I will be giving you ideas for Boredom Busters to help you enjoy your family instead of getting annoyed by them. Before we embark on my June Boredom Buster Blogs, I want to remind you of the precious opportunity you have for teachable moments during the summer time. Martin Luther said, “Family life is a school for character.” Certainly as we spend more quantity time with our families we have more opportunities to embrace some lessons for life.

How do you spot a teachable moment? First pray, asking God to open your eyes to life lessons all around you. Each encounter and experience is an opportunity for learning. Now don’t go around making a lesson out of everything you see and do. You don’t want your kids to roll their eyes and, with exasperation, say, “Not another lesson from Mom!” On the other hand you do want to light a fire for learning as you spark their interest and offer wise words or important life lessons. Here are five everyday occasions that offer a lesson waiting to be taught:

Going Places Together — Whenever we go somewhere together as a family—on vacation or to a local park, the zoo, a restaurant, the movies—there are opportunities for growth. Patience, self-sacrifice, an appreciation for God as our Creator, and contentment are just a few of the lessons to be learned on a family outing.

Mistakes — We grow and learn from the “oops” in life. Forgetting, misjudging, or miscalculating can be frustrating and painful, but those times do offer lessons to be learned. We learn, first, that no one is perfect—not us nor anyone we are around. We also learn the importance of forgiveness toward others (because we need it ourselves), being careful, taking responsibility, and not rushing through a task.

People in Need — What do you do when you see someone holding out a hand begging for money or food? Do you pass by shaking your head, or do you use it as a teachable moment? You may want to buy some food for the person and even have a conversation. You can teach your kids loving-kindness when you reach out and care for another human being who is hurting.

Wins and Losses — When our children don’t perform as well as they’d like and struggle with the pain (whether in sports, piano competition, or grades in school), we can make these teachable moments. First allow your children to grieve and cry over the loss, but eventually help them discover something they can learn from the situation. The lesson may be as basic as we will not win or come out on top in every situation in life. There may be lessons to learn about forgiveness, dealing with anger or jealousy, or creative ways to do things differently next time. Winning can present growth opportunities as well.

Discipline — It may seem like a negative setting for a teachable moment, but we can’t overlook the opportunity to teach and train our children whenever we must discipline them.

Let’s look forward to a wonderful summer, loving, teaching and enjoying our kids. I’ll be back with you on Monday with Boredom Busters! Until then, happy summer!

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