Yesterday my six-year-old learned to ride her bike. No training wheels.
I jogged beside her on the concrete cul-de-sac, with my arms teetering around her like some sort of pathetic mommy force field. “I’ll catch you if you fall!” I promised.
In fact by the end of the day she was wheeling around that cul-de-sac like she’d been riding a bike for months, not mere hours.
I was so proud.
And my heart tightened in my chest.
Because I thought of all the days I spent bouncing her in an Ergo, pushing her in a stroller, following her tricycle tracks—and here she is, just one week away from kindergarten graduation, riding a big girl bike, playing piano, reading Knock-Knock Jokes for Kids all on her very own, thank you very much.
She is so grown up now.
And I wonder where the last six years went.
I don’t mean what activities are your kids signed up for or where are you going on summer vacation. We’ve got swimming lessons, art camp, play dates and road trips in the works like everybody else.
To me the question is more about what you’re not doing.
Running, planning, checking off to-do’s.
Stressing, scolding, eating on the run (unless we’re talking about chasing the ice cream truck).
I do enough of that during the school year. This summer, I want to try something new.
Look my children in the eyes, memorize their voices, let their laughter swirl over me like pixie dust.
How about you?
“Give your entire attention to what God is doing right now, and don’t get worked up about what may or may not happen tomorrow. God will help you deal with whatever hard things come up when the time comes” (Matthew 6:34, MSG).
Let’s give ourselves time to capture mental pictures of our children at this age. This season. This precious, fleeting moment.
Let’s build sandcastles. Build s’mores. Build memories.
Because one day, that’s all we’ll have to show for our efforts.
Eighteen, thirteen, ten summers from now. Or less.
How many do you have left?
I’m going to spend mine riding bikes and kissing freckled faces, and investing in the people God gave me. I love them so much.
And summer is a chance to make time stand still. Will you join me?
* * * * * * * *
If you’re looking for a special way to pour into your kids this summer, I highly recommend doing some sort of mom-child Bible study. It’s a great opportunity to share God with your kids and their friends in really fun ways. I’m excited to share a meaningful resource for you—Fantastic Friendship, a parent-child Bible study on choosing good friends and being a good friend, which I co-wrote with my friend Vanessa Nackers.
This six-unit study, based on scripture from the book of Proverbs, explores key aspects of friendship including wisdom, kindness, honesty, love, and more. It contains easy-to-follow lessons, memory verses, and fun activities to apply key concepts. Fantastic Friendship is appropriate and adaptable for kids ages 6 to 12 with adult guidance. The cost is $29, which includes one downloadable 32-page PDF with permission to replicate as many copies as needed for your small (or large!) group.
Last summer my girls and I met biweekly with a few other moms and daughters to do this study, and it was by far our favorite summer activity. We started with the Bible lesson and crazy fun application game/activity (that was Vanessa’s part, and she is brilliant), then set the kids loose to play while we moms enjoyed some adult conversation. In fact we enjoyed it so much, we’re reuniting this summer to do a new study on How God Sees You. Stay tuned!
If you order Fantastic Friendship this week, I’ll also send you a wonderful list of “Characteristics of Good Friends,” compiled by my friend Kris Petsche. She explored this list of 41 characteristics with her own parent-child small group, and challenged the kids to consider whether or not they were choosing their friends wisely, as well as if they themselves were exhibiting godly characteristics. Good stuff.
To claim for your copy of Fantastic Friendship, just e-mail me at becky (at) beckykopitzke (dot) com with the subject line “I want Fantastic Friendship!” and I’ll reply with the downloads and an invoice to pay online. Please include your first and last name in the e-mail as well.
Happy summer everybody! Let’s make it meaningful for the kingdom, amen?