Summer is starting, and the 2021-2022 school year has come to an end, allowing for the perfect opportunity to take some time to Rest, Reflect, Restore and Reset. Matthew 11:28 says, “Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.” This scripture talks about rest for the soul when you are aligned with God and accept Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior. As a child of God, you enter into an uninterrupted time of fellowship, a state of rest with God and man. It is essential to have both a spiritual and natural rest. Our physical bodies need rest as well as our spirits. Resting improves moods, reduces stress, decreases health problems, and sharpens the brain. When you are rested you can think clearly and function better at tasks, plus communicate more effectively with others.
Reflect on the previous school year. What were the successes for the family? What were areas where the family could improve? What were the strengths, weaknesses, and problems of the family and each individual within the family? Identify areas that need to be celebrated and the areas that need to be strengthened for the family to be successful and for each member of the family to function at their maximum potential. Prayer, meditation, and deep breathing exercises are excellent ways to assist in the reflecting process.
Joshua 1:8 says:
This book of the law shall not depart out of thy mouth; but thou shalt meditate therein day and night, that thou mayest observe to do according to all that is written therein: for then thou shalt make thy way prosperous, and then thou shalt have good success.
Restore by involving the family in activities that rejuvenate. A practical way for a family to build resiliency and restore and maintain physical and mental energy is by engaging in rejuvenating activities. Activities such as walking, rock climbing, nature hikes, and visiting parks are great ways to restore and maintain physical and mental energy. A simple game of catch can be a rewarding connecting activity for children. Other ways to restore and build resiliency include trying a new activity, inventing a game, learning to play an instrument, journaling, visiting family and friends, blowing bubbles, making sock puppets, making paper airplanes, cooking, and trying new foods together.
Reset to have a great start for the next school year by taking the time to set SMART goals for your children and the entire family. SMART goals are goals that are Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, and Time-Bound. A specific goal is concise, clear, and understandable, so a plan can be implemented towards achieving the goal. A goal must be measurable to monitor progress to know when the goal is within reach or if adjustments to the plan need to be made. Also, the goal should be achievable. Ask yourself, is the goal within your control? Can the goal be realistically achieved? The goal should be challenging but not impossible. In addition, you have to ask yourself honestly if the goal is even relevant. Does this goal have any long-term benefit or value to the family? Is this goal in line with the direction the family is going? Proverbs 22:6 says “Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it.” Lastly, goals should be time-bound by having a target date, a date by which you would like to have achieved the goal. That does not mean the date cannot be changed or adjusted. However, establish a reasonable amount of time to reach the goal. Set SMART goals to help establish the path that your family will follow.
May your summer be a time to Rest, Reflect, Restore and Reset. If you would like more information, contact the Samaritan Counseling Center at (334) 262-7787.
Elizabeth D. Cates is a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist Associate, an Associate Licensed Counselor, a National Certified Counselor, Certified Grief Counseling Specialist, a Certified Clinical Trauma Professional, and a Certified AutPlay Therapy Provider. She works with individuals, couples, families, adolescences, and children to address a wide range of concerns, including autism, trauma, and grief. Her clinical interests include marriage and couples therapy, healthy relationships, family therapy, and military and homeschooling families.