When our kids are home during the summer, it presents a challenge for me to get much work done as a freelance writer and piano instructor. Frequent interruptions, additional meals, extra laundry, and non-stop activities with friends over means I need to be available and attentive to what kids are doing.
So, I’ve learned to work less and lower my expectations during the summer months. It usually means we have to watch our spending closer, but somehow it always works out.
I’m also aware of the example I set with my children, stepchildren, and their friends during the summer. It’s not unusual to have several teen-agers at our house and I believe they need to see a stable role model. I like to engage them in conversations on their faith and moral behavior as a young adult. I want to continue to influence them through their teen-age years as much as possible. I know that I cannot do that if I am preoccupied with my own agenda and to-do list.
I believe our stepchildren watch and learn from our example more than our words. If I want to make a difference with my stepchildren, I need to act in a way that sets a Christ-like example. I ran across a poem recently that speaks of the importance of our example.
Here’s part of the poem, written by Edgar Guest (1881-1959)
The eye’s a better pupil and more willing than the ear
Fine counsel is confusing, but example’s always clear.
I soon can learn to do it if you’ll let me see it done;
I can watch your hands in action but your tongue too fast may run.
And the lecture you deliver may be very wise and true,
But I’d rather get my lessons by observing what you do;
For I might misunderstand you and the high advise you give
But there’s no misunderstanding how you act and how you live.
When our stepchildren come for extended visits over the summer, it’s a great time to show them unconditional love and acceptance through our behavior. It may not be easy and it may not be given in return, but our actions could have life-long effects on impressionable children.
Have your stepchildren come to visit for the summer? What thoughts do you have on making it a memorable visit?