We have fully flung ourselves into summer over here, giving ourselves to the day’s whim, swimsuits, frizzy hair, and all. What a contrasting rhythm from the other months in the year! Without our typical homeschool routines, my children and I gladly welcome a few more hours in our days for curiosity and restoration of all sorts.
As idyllic as that sounds though, the free hours with young adults bear their own level of responsibility. Primarily, there are more technologies competing for their affection and attention, the longing to connect with peers more through devices, the awareness of what other people are or are not doing. And while sometimes I want to crawl into the past of their childhood when they were more oblivious to these things, this is part of modern adulthood, too. They are the same wrestlings I have––how to connect to friends, how to avoid comparison, how to enjoy empty space in time or sit with uncomfortable moments without needing to fill it with a screen. I have a habit of filling blank spaces, whether a shelf, a calendar, a fridge, or an hour in the afternoon. Idleness feels foreign and uncomfortable in the active juggle of home, community, and work. Chances are it feels foreign for your children, too.
This brings me to a conversation our family had over blueberry pancakes this weekend, one prompted by the simple question: what are you dreaming about right now? I wasn’t fishing for a specific answer, only wanting them to reflect inward for a moment and share a peek of their thoughts aloud. So much of parenting is partnering with who are children are now and helping them grow into who they are to become tomorrow. Often the best hints are buried in their daydreams and interests, the littlest seeds sprouting beneath the surface.
Younger children can often be more transparent and concrete about such things––I want to learn to sew. I wish we went hiking more! I wrote a story today! Can I play baseball this year? Older children and young adults, who have lived long enough to experience disappointment and comparison or who may be more aware of the context of circumstance and personal aptitude, may keep their dreams hidden out of plain view. It’s also quite possible they are asleep to their dreams themselves.
Have you asked yourself the same lately? What are you dreaming about? It’s easy to respond with the next thing––needs, work, projects, meals; isn’t it? But this question goes deeper; it can become a source of vision, of motivation, of editing. Watch the clouds, swing in a hammock, take a road trip. Play with your children, get together with friends, swim. Allow the dreams within you to rise.