If you have spent even a bit of time with me, you know I have a plan for everything. I like to play out different scenarios. I document the strategy, state the goals, and play with the fonts to make it look pretty. Who says planning is not fun?
In May, I start to get excited (and scared) of school letting out. I romanticize about the lazy days of summer and start to think through what it will be like with two boys (14 and 9 years old), one dog, 13 chickens, and two working parents.
To maintain my excitement and balance out my anxiety, each year my family creates a literal “summer bucket list.” Starting in May, we each share something we want to do this summer at dinner and if everyone agrees, it goes on the bucket list. It’s great because we all get a voice, and yet, we must build consensus. It also helps our family transition to a new season of the year.
June started off nice and easy! We had a family trip with the grandparents. There were playdates. We went out on the lake. Work kept moving along. But in July it all shifted.
Work calls increased and great conversations were had. The boys summer commitments, camps, friend gatherings, and service projects, increased and cross county practice added, which made the calendar look and feel impossible. The romantic summer bubble finally burst!
My default is to push forward, divide and conquer, but what is romantic about that?
Then, a few themes started to pop up in my conversations at work, while reading, and on my multi-tasking walks with the dog at 6:30 am while cross country practice was underway.
1. Stay open.
If I am too busy pushing forward “getting it done,” then I might miss the moment or an opportunity to connect. We see this all the time when we engage with people transactionally verses relationally regardless of whether its your son, donor, volunteer, or partner.
2. “Ask for help when you need it and give help when you can. I think that is how we serve.” ― Kristin Hannah, The Nightingale
The simplicity of this made me pause on one of my early morning walks and helped to clarify all that was spinning in my head. We want to do good and accomplish as much good as we possibly can. It’s what drives us. We set audacious goals (still a fan of this) and then get wrapped up in all the details (not a fan of this). My takeaway was to pause when it gets too messy and focus on the key priorities and how we can best serve.
3. Have fun!
If two young kids in summer don’t remind you to pause, take it easy, skip your chores (also not a fan of this), and have fun to reset, then I don’t know what will. The reset is the fuel that helps us be strategic, allows us to be open so that we can simply serve.
Before we transition back into the school year and end of year pushes, I hope you can find a bit more summer!