15 Be very careful, then, how you live —not as unwise but as wise, 16 making the most of every opportunity,because the days are evil. (Ephesians 5: 15-16)
to redeem (from the KJV Dictionary):
To redeem time, is to use more diligence in the improvement of it; to be diligent and active in duty and preparation. Eph. 5.
This summer has been, for lack of a better word, different. Normally I overbook our summers with all kinds of activities—camps, programs, trips, summer school—you name it. This summer, I intentionally enrolled the kids in almost nothing—no expensive, intensive “enrichment” programs. I had only two desires after the school year we had—to plan and to rest. With roughly 1/3 to ½ of our school year spent on trips and outside activities in April and May, I recognized early this spring that our school year would perhaps run into mid-June before we reached a place that I felt comfortable in declaring us finished. (Then again, who am I, right?) And the Lord proceeded to prove that exact point—that my plans are nothing compared to His.
After detailing what I needed each of the children to accomplish in the final weeks of May and the first couple of weeks of June, I fought with two bouts of cold, cough, and congestion. This was literally the first time in our 20 years as a family that everyone was sick at the same time. Consequently, all of that planned attentiveness to building certain skill sets in the kids flew out the window while I struggled just to get out of the bed before noon on most days. Our “official” end of the school year ended ambiguously, to say the least.
Once we wound down into summer mode, we have focused in on our usual reading and math. The oldest is volunteering once again at our local cancer center, and is preparing for a national academic competition on next week, plus beginning her college application process. The younger two have camps with the church at different times this year, and this should be an ideal pace for me to be productive. But there’s a rub.
Our youngest is, at least to this point in her academic career, largely uninterested in school. What this means on a day-to-day basis this summer is that she postpones her hour of reading and her multiplication drills.
Her: “I’ll get it done at 4:00, Mom.”
Me (@ ~4:15): “I thought you said 4:00!”
Her: “Uh, oh, I forgot! Okay, 5:00. I promise!”
Me (after losing track of time): “Okay, WHEN are you going to get your work done??!”
Her: “[the oldest] is enjoying my book. I’m going to read to her at 8 p.m.” (and by 9-ish, her work is done. Sigh).
This isn’t every day, but it’s more often than I can appreciate. And here’s the kicker: as I get more irritated with her, I can’t help but think about my own m.o. as of late. With a lightened college course load, I don’t have to worry about grading papers and interacting with so many people in a day. But, I’m still very accustomed to getting on the computer early in the morning for a significant amount of time. So guess what? I’m waaaayyyyy more in touch with my Facebook and Twitter buds! Though I love them dearly, this is truly dangerous for me. It’s not as if I don’t have things to do this summer. If the Lord says the same, by mid-August, I will:
1) complete a couple of study guides that I am writing for another company
2) complete a significant portion of my long-anticipated high school curriculum
3) revise my economics lesson plans (listed on Squidoo)
4) develop lesson plans for son’s Swahili studies
5) develop lesson plans for the oldest’s world geography studies
6) plan the 1st 6 weeks of everyone’s school days
Each of these items has subset point a), b), etc. Also, each of these items fall in the category of items I love to do, so you’d think I’d have all of this energy to get going in the mornings, right? Wrong. I find myself very much like the 8-year-old, filling in time with I-don’t-know-what and then beginning projects much later in the evening when I’m not at my best. The end result is that far less gets done, and July and August are like looming storm clouds, reminding me that summer is short and my list is long. Though I’ve accomplished some tasks, I know that I should be, and I could be, much farther along.
I believe a part of my extended illness was a simple need to rest; I told my husband so when he began planning his summer trips with all the places I could go and things to do that I know I did the right thing in not overloading our summer as I so often do. But I also know that I could do something very different with my time on a daily basis. So I embrace God’s wisdom and pray about redeeming my time. I believe Him to give me strength over this last bit of a cough such that I can help the youngest be more diligent with her time as well. The oldest? Praise God, she’s getting so much better with the self-discipline to complete work tasks, even though she works to the last minute with essays and application deadlines. I think that by the time we finish reading Huckleberry Finn, Jesus might come and we’ll be able to talk to Mark Twain about it face-to-face. Maybe after next week’s competition, we can really get after it.
Writing is cathartic, and I’m excited about sharing a progress report in a couple of weeks. I’d also love to hear of your summer plans with your family. Any school happening, or are you taking a complete break? How are you redeeming your time?