This is my response to a young pastor who had questions about boys and summer. He said found it helpful.
By Greg Uttinger
First, I don’t have any divine revelation on the topic of boys and summer. And please remember: I have three girl-children, and we are a kind of nerdy/literary family. Anyway, here are my suggestions. See what you think.
Turn off the TV and all the video games. Use them only twice or thrice a week as family events, and then make a big deal over them. Keep the boys from withdrawing into their own private worlds.
Have a not-too-detailed, flexible schedule that’s pretty much the same each week. You know: Monday and Thursday are swimming; Wednesday’s the library; Saturday’s lawn and garden chores—that sort of thing. Children do better with structure and reliable order.
Give your boys outside chores. If possible, make sure scary, impressive tools are involved. Make it very manly and maybe a little destructive. (Mom has to be comfortable with this.)
Take your boys to the library once a week. Get each his own library card. Let them pick up whatever appeals to them.
Boys And Summer – Don’t Forget Worldview Training
In addition, assign them a couple challenging theology/worldview books or missionary biographies appropriate to their ages. Discuss them every night or so at supper.
Get your boys involved in something athletic a couple of times a week: swimming, martial arts, the gym, bike riding, hiking—whatever. Let them sweat out all their extra energy.
Have them do chores for the elderly people in your church. But, first, teach them how to mow a lawn and clean out a garage.
If they have any interest in music, invest in that, even if it’s only banging on pots to keep rhythm with their favorite songs. Teach them that real men sing. Lead by example.
Teach your boys to cook bacon, eggs, toast, and coffee. Have them make breakfast a few times a week and bless their mom.
Boys And Summer – Turning Them Loose?
Yep. Turn them loose in the garage or shed. Let them sort things and clean things and tear things apart. Let them figure out, for instance, how to rebuild an old lawn mower or fix up an old bicycle. Teach them to how to pound and remove nails and how to use a screwdriver and a power drill.
If your neighborhood is safe or if you have friends with a lot of property, let your boys spend an afternoon exploring, mapping, collecting junk, spotting birds and lizards, or whatever.
And in all of this, don’t forget to work on their devotional time. Help them map out a strategy for the summer.
Boys And Summer – Time For Advanced Devotions
Family devotions, of course, should go without saying. This is a good time for the boys to pray for very specific and concrete things and for people they actually know. Then they can discuss whether or not they might be the means through which God will answer their prayers. Also, reading through a single book of the Bible, one with a lot of action, can be something they look forward to each night. Our family likes Judges.
The goal in all of this is to invest a bit of time up front so that the rest of the summer can run mostly on autopilot with mom and dad simply redirecting the boys’ energy and focus to the next project without a lot of muss and fuss.
I hope there’s some stuff in here you can use. Our family also does a lot with reading aloud, writing stories, drawing pictures, gardening, and watching classic movies. My girls also like to swim.
May the Lord bless your summer and your family.