Here are my notes from Episode 008: 92 Days Of Fun In The Sun
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Can you still remember the feeling of waking up the first day of summer break and realizing, “I don’t have to do homework tonight!” I can! There was nothing like those summer breaks – – grilling hot dogs in the back yard, and the excitement of loading up the cooler with Cokes and getting the boat packed for a day at the lake. I can still hear the sound of my go-cart firing, my brothers and I taking off down the street to head to the creek to fish and swim and play all day with our neighborhood friends.
I remember so much about summer break when I was a kid. At the top of my memory list, are moments like:
vacation days in the swimming pool when my dad would jump in;
playing basketball in the driveway until late into the night when both mom and dad would shoot with us;
and, working out in the yard on Saturdays, sweating, and mom bringing dad and us boys a glass of fresh=squeezed lemonade.
So, what summer memories do you have of growing up? Like me, it probably doesn’t take much effort on your part to recall a few, or a lot, of the “good ole’ days!”
Times have changed but one constant that remains – kids still love making memories with the 92 days of fun in the sun!
Summer is right around the corner. Are you ready? Your kids are! In this weeks episode, I’m going to help you get ready to make the most of these memory-making moments for your kids. So grab your bathing suit, get your sunscreen, and get packed…you’ve got memories waiting to made!
This is Family Strong with Jeffrey Dean. Let’s hit it!
Can you feel it? Can you smell it? Can you taste it? I say a resounding “YES” to all of these questions. I can feel summer coming on. It’s been really warm here in Music City that past few days. I step outside and I smell fresh-cut fescue grass, flowers all over our yard blooming, and yes, I can even taste it! Summer is in the air, it’s right around the corner and I AM SOOOOO READY FOR IT!
I’m not the only one in my house jazzed about the start of summer. All three of my ladies are, especially my two daughters. School is out for the summer in just a few days from today. And, they can’t wait! Neither can Amy and I. Say it with me: “No more homework. No more preparing school lunches.” Well actually, Brynnan is taking a summer class, so we’ll still have some homework. But, at least she can do it poolside for three months!
Brynnan, our youngest told me the other day that some of her best memories growing up have been from things we have done as a family in summers past. I agree! Summer is a huge season of ministry for us, so I travel a good part of the summer. As a matter of fact, we have taken very few summer vacations over the past 20+ years, because I am usually speaking at a music festival or a summer camp in the summer. So, I work most of the summer. But the girls have grown up traveling with me on the road a good part of the summer. Our summers are a little different for us, but it’s our normal. And, as Brynnan said, we’ve had some great moments that make for great memories.
Whatever your summer looks like ahead, it’s important for you to remember: These are the memory-making moments for your kids. Right now your family is writing the story of memories that will stay with your kids for the rest of their lives. What you do with the next three months, will be memories they hold onto for the rest of their lives. I don’t want to overstate this…but it’s true! Just as you can quickly recall so many moments about your life growing up, so too will your son or daughter do the same.
The Family Strong podcast is about reminding you to make the most of the moments you have with them. As parents, we have about 18 years with our kids before the take off. Sure, we will always be their parents. But, once they graduate, things are never the same again.
In this episode, I’m going to give you some great ideas on things you can do to really enjoy the summer with your kids, especially if you have a graduate. The summer of transition from high school graduation to “what’s next” is such an important summer – it just might be the most important summer of your kid’s life as high school is now in the rearview mirror and the rest of life lies ahead.
Whether it’s a transition summer for your graduate or for a son or daughter of any age, I’m going to help you make the most of the 92 days of summer ahead.
By the way, if you do have a son or daughter graduating this spring, make sure to listen to episode seven of Family Strong with Jeffrey Dean: Getting My Graduate Ready For “What’s Next.” In last weeks episode, I outlined many of the changes and challenges ahead that your graduate is sure to face in the next 12 months. That’s episode seven, and you should also grab the episode notes. Because, in this episode, I detailed some very specific things that you will want to continue praying for your son or daughter as he or she embarks upon the next chapter of life. You can get the episode notes for Getting My Graduate Ready For “What’s Next” at jeffreydean.com/7.
Okay, with today’s episode of Family Strong, I’m first going to give you some suggestions on things to do this summer that will make for lasting memories for your family. All of this you may already do. If so, great. Do it well!
Remember, and this is really important, I often tell you: If you don’t plan it, it probably won’t happen! As parents, WE HAVE TO BE STRATEGIC when it comes to making family time happen. Life is busy! You are busy! Your kids are busy, especially if they are in high school. Summer jobs, required workouts at school for athletes, summer camp, church mission trips, some time at the pool…THEY ARE BUSY!
If you don’t get a plan in place for the summer, it will pass you by. So, let me give some suggestions.
This first one is probably already on your list. If not, I bet your kids hope it will be:
Take A Trip
Of course, I could spend an entire episode of Family Strong talking about the countless places you as a family can go this summer. I’ll leave those logistics to you. What I do want to express is the importance of making it happen.
I get it – the reality is that family trips can often be stressful. Getting it all together, getting there, paying for it and then making the trip home…sometimes it can seem like you need a vacation after vacation.
But, you know what…studies show that traveling with kids is actually great for families!
According to a Disney poll, which asked 1,000 parents with kids age 5-17 questions about their vacations, 97% of parents said they learned something new about their kids while taking a family trip. Isn’t this interesting! One of the foundational principles of being a Family-Strong family is keeping up with what’s up in your kid’s lives. This study is proof that spending time with your kids away from the routines of life at home can be a tremendous learning opportunity for mom and dad.
This survey also found that the entire family tends to be more excited, more (isn’t this good) silly, and more affectionate while on vacation.
Another benefit of taking a family trip? Many parents reported eating nearly double the number of meals with their children while on vacation. There’s another foundational principle of Building Strong Families – – dinnertime! Families grow closer, learn more about one another, and draw strength from one another by consistently eating together.
As I mentioned earlier, our summer trips are almost always as a part of our ministry events, because summer is when do so much outreach at Jeffrey Dean Ministries. If your work schedule is similar, then that’s okay. Make the most of your situation.
My dad’s job took him away from home all of the time when I was growing up, even in the summer. I remember that we would travel with dad to different places where he had to work. We’d hang out at the hotel, swim, play tennis, and just chill during the days while he was working. At nights, we would go eat, go to movies, play some crazy intense games of putt-putt…I remember those summers as some of our best family times.
Let me give you two thoughts about planning a summer family trip:
1. Involve the family.
If you don’t have a trip planned yet, consider calling a family meeting. I talk a lot about the importance of those weekly family meetings. As a matter of fact, I posted on my Instagram story this past week a video of us at one of our favorite restaurants in Nashville having our weekly family meeting. We actually sat there about 3 hours last Saturday night and planned out the next three months. You can see the video on Instagram @iamjeffreydean.
So, get a meeting on the calendar and involve every member in the planning process. You can lead this meeting however you want. One way to start the conversation might be to pose the question: “If you could plan the perfect vacation, what would you do?”
If your plan is to take the family camping for a week, and your daughter is hoping for a trip to Italy, then you’ll obviously work to find common ground. This is okay too! Such a meeting can show your kids – mom and dad value your input and your opinion. So, involve the family as you plan.
2. Give the family a night.
We love doing this when we are on vacation. On each vacation, as long as I can remember, we’ve given every family member a day on vacation to be whatever they want it to be…within reason of course. It’s always fun to hear Bailey, Brynnan, and Amy lay out the plan for the day. When Brynnan was younger, her day of vacation planning always included a visit to the closest Build-a-Bear! Man, I wish I could have all that money back! Bailey’s usually includes running or swimming out to the sandbar, or an intense game of Un-No or Skip-Bo. Amy’s always includes time on our bikes. And for me, as long as I have an iced-tea with me…I’m pretty good with whatever!
I’m telling you…this is a family tradition of ours that I LOVE! – – Letting my girls plan a day while on vacation to be whatever they want the day to be – – it’s pretty priceless.
There’s so much more I can say about this. I’ll leaving the planning to you. But, get a family trip on the calendar this summer. YOU WON’T REGRET IT!
2. Try Something New
I remember the summer between my 6th and 7th grade of school, I decided I wanted to start running. I had never really run before, of course except for running from my older brother who loved to pin me down as often as he could and make my life miserable!
I remember I told my dad one Friday night at the beginning of summer that I wanted to run a 10K race. He said, “Great!” I said, “Tomorrow!” He said, “What?”
Yes, the next day I ran a 10K race for the first time. You may recall that in the late 70’s and early 80’s Pepsi hosted the Pepsi Challenge 10K races across America. Well, they brought the race to my hometown, Little Rock, and I ran! And, here’s what’s crazy – – a few months later my parents received a phone call from a talent agency wanting to put me in their commercial for Pepsi! Yes, Pepsi! They explained that while running that day, I waved at a camera person. I don’t remember doing so. But, they tracked me down from the race number assigned to me that they had pinned to my shirt that day and they wanted to include ME in their commercial that would air nationally the following year promoting the Pepsi 10K races across America. And, here’s what’s even more crazy – – they paid us…really paid us. The money I made from appearing in those commercials waving at a camera paid for almost 2 years of my college tuition at Belmont University.
That summer I tried something new…and, no pun intended, it paid off!
So, I really love this idea. My wife, Amy, has always been so good at pushing our girls to try something new. Summer time is the perfect time of the year for this. Several years ago, she encouraged both Bailey and Brynnan to take a few tennis lessons. They did. Now, they both play on the high school tennis team at school…and they love it.
Learning a new language, taking up a new sport, volunteering…really, anything goes here. And, you may want to consider joining in the fun. Maybe “trying something new” can be a family affair this summer. A community project, taking taekwondo, the skies the limit. Consider talking this out with your family NOW before the summer takes off.
And, if your relationship with your son or daughter isn’t what you’d like it to be, trying something new might be the perfect kick-start to improving your relationship with them.
Okay, so this next one might not feel like it can improve your relationship with your kids at first. However, I can almost guarantee it will open up their calendar and possibly yours this summer to have more time to try something new.
You probably have already guessed where I’m going with this one…the #3 “92 Days Of Fun In The Sun” this summer:
3. A Summer Socials Sabbatical
Yes, this one might not sit well at first with your son or daughter, especially if they have been on their socials for a while. But, this is a really good one. Let me take a moment to tell you why:
– 3.2 billion people using social media every day
– 5.1 billion mobile phone users.
– 15 new people start using social media every second
– 1 million+ new users every day
– Gen Z students use Snapchat alone more than 200 times a day.
– The average Gen Z spends 6 hours/day on media – Netflix, social media, gaming, & music
Here’s what’s scary:
– 30% say they’ve posted mean info, embarrassing photos or spread rumors @ someone.
– 55% of our kids have given out personal info to someone they do NOT know, including photos and physical descriptions.
– 29% have been stalked or contacted by a stranger or someone they don t know.
– 24% have had private or embarrassing info made public without their permission.
The big one:
Over 90% of our kids say they have been the recipient of some type of sexual advancement or had an unintended viewing of pornography in the last year.
Gen Zs look at their phones – I mean literally look at their screens more than 400 times a day…a day! They reach for their phones, pick them up, their eyes connect with the screen over 400 times each day!
Think about all of that wasted time!
And, we aren’t much better parents: Adults look at their phones at least once every 10 minutes. And, LISTEN TO THIS: Adults look at their phones, on average, 80 times a day WHILE ON VACATION!
And, we wonder why are kids are at so much!
This is why this summer, our family is taking a “Summer Socials Sabbatical!”
When school gets out for summer break, no more. We are done. No more snapping for the summer. Now, this is a BIG DEAL! This means that all of those streaks are going to go bye-bye. You know that this is HUGE for Gen Zs. Their streaks are the equivalent of digital relationships to them. Many students give way more attention to their streaks than to the actual person on the other side of the streaks.
And, THIS is why our kids need a break from it all. Summer break is THE PERFECT TIME for a social media break!
Afraid this won’t sit well with your son or daughter? I was too. So you can imagine my surprise when, last week I told the girls, “I think we are going to stop using Snapchat this summer.” And, almost immediately, Bailey said, “Yes! I’m all for it. Snapchat is such a waste of time!”
You probably already know that the top social media app is Snapchat.
9 out of 10 ten Gen Zs use the app.
The minimum age requirement for a Snapchat user is 13, in compliance with COPPA” the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act (COPPA).
Last month I was in Florida speaking, and I asked a group of teens, “On average, how many snaps do you send each day?” Every one of them: 200+
“When I am sitting at home on the weekend and I see many of my friends snapping and tweeting, it makes me feel like I’m missing out on all the fun. It also makes me feel ‘less than’ because I’m not doing whatever it is they are doing. When I do snap or tweet, I feel like I am saying to the world, ‘Look at me! My life is important too!’”
– Jamie, a 17 year-old
What does this obsession say about what our kids think of themselves?
– They fear being overlooked.
– They crave attention;
– They overdo things in an attempt to fit in.
What is the 1 social media metric by which most live? – – The snap streak. I just mentioned this.
Snapchat’s official definition of “snap streak”:
Send direct snaps back and forth with someone for consecutive days.
The longer my kids or yours go without missing a day, the longer the streak. Snapchat uses emojis to reward users who have long streaks. It’s all addictive!
Students have shared with me their devastation over losing a streak. Sadly, many view streaks as the default measure of success. Kids feel more popular and often have a greater sense of self-worth when they have indications of being socially accepted. And, isn’t this crazy how far we’ve gone: Long-term streaks validate their social success.
“When I see others having a lot of streaks, I view those people as popular and think, Man, I’ve got to have that too.”
– Kasey, 12 year-old
“I even wake up early on school days just so I can keep my streaks alive.”
– Adam, 16 year-old
What does all this tell us about where our kids obtain their sense of significance and self-worth?
And, what about us as parents?
We have to be willing to ask ourselves about our socials:
How do my socials influence my life?
How do my socials influence how I use my free time?
How do my socials influence how much time I communicate with my spouse and with my kids?
Or what about this – – How do my socials influence how much time I spend in the Word & in prayer?
I’ve spent so much time on this one because we as humans spend so much time on our socials – – for what? Ask yourself…really…for what purpose is it all?
If we will be honest, there isn’t much purpose behind our socials!
This is why our family is out – at least for the summer! And, if I’m being honest, I’m working towards us being out for good!
I hope you won’t think any more about it! I hope you too will say right now, “We’re out for the summer with socials!”
4. Remember, School’s Still In Session
One thing I’ve learned through the years with my girls, and I talk about it all of the time hear on Family Strong and across the country at our events: My kids are learning life, by watching my life.
So, even though school is out for the summer:
YOU, THE #1 TEACHER IN THEIR LIFE,
NEVER GET A BREAK!
School is still in session in your home! So, work, and I mean this…you’ll have to be strategic here…work to teach while your kids are home more this summer.
Of course, there are countless ways this can happen. If you have younger kids at home, look for opportunities in the community to give back. Set-up a lemonade stand in your neighborhood but don’t charge anything. When people stop by to get a cup of lemonade, consider handing them a hand-made notecard with a scripture verse on the back. Or, visit your local Firehall and pass out bottles of water or even gift cards the firemen and women who serve in your community. You can ALWAYS find ways to teach your kids what it means to “give back,” especially to those who serve!
You can visit a retirement home or volunteer at an animal adoption organization.
One way I always work to “teach” is to say “Thank you for your service to our country and community” whenever I see a woman or man in uniform who is serving our country in the armed forces or is a police officer. Such a gesture can quickly brighten the day of those who serve while also teaching our kids to be thankful for those who place their very lives in harms-way for us and for our country!
There are teachable moments every day for us as parents. We just have to remember: Every day the student is showing-up for class. The question is, “Is the TEACHER also showing up?”
5. Day Trip
We live in Tennessee. Within just 2 hours of our home are hundreds of lakes, caves, rivers, and mountains, and historic places. Last year, we toured several Civil War locations, and the Tennessee State Museum. The new one just opened in Nashville last year and it’s awesome! We also toured the famous Ryman Auditorium in downtown Nashville.
We love day trips. Do you? If not, why not give them a try this summer? Pack some food, load up the bikes, and go hiking, geocaching, fishing, or whatever you guys like. Make a day of it, a weekend….whatever you want it to be. Day trips can be some of the best, easiest, and often cheapest ways to get away, unplug from life’s noises, and just enjoy your kids!
The next one, of course, doesn’t have to be reserved for summer. But, if you aren’t applying this one, summer can be the PEREFECT time to get this one going!
6. Family Devotional Time
Are you consistently in the Word with your family? If you aren’t, there’s a strong possibility your family isn’t in the Word at all!
“Through your words I get understanding; therefore I hate every false way. Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path.” Psalm 119 makes it clear that by spending time in God’s Word, we will gain knowledge and understanding about what matters most in life. And, I can tell you, after COUNTLESS conversation with students all over America, one constant concern I hear among Gen Zs is the question about, “what’s next?” If you have a son or daughter who is graduating this spring, I can guarantee you he or she has thought about the future one or two hundred times in the past few months. – Psalm 119:104–105
No matter the age of your children, there is nothing, I repeat, NOTHING that can prepare them for “what’s next” like the confidence they will gain from spending time in God’s Word – period!
Time in His word will prepare them for life’s challenges.
Time in His word will give them peace during life’s uncertainties.
Time in His word will offer them hope will all seems hopeless.
Time in His word will fulfill them unlike anything this world will offer.
But here’s the deal – if you aren’t working to carve out time for your family to be together reading God’s Word, talking, and praying together, this will probably never happen on it’s own. Of all the ways that you can prepare your kids for “what’s next,” there is none greater than this!
In my book for parents, The Fight Of Your Life, I detail for you how to make this happen each week. I also do the same in my book for teen boys, Watch This, my book for teen girls, This Is Me, and my book for graduates, The Graduate Handbook. You can get a copy of The Fight Of Your Life, Watch This, This Is Me, or The Graduate Handbook anywhere books or sold, or simply by going to my website: jeffreydean.com.
Of all that you make plans to do in the 92 days of summer I hope you will place family devotional time at the top of this list. You will NEVER regret making it a priority tp spend time with God with your family.
Just enjoy the summer with your kids. There are 92 days to make it awesome this summer. So, enjoy them! You’re never too old to run through a sprinkler or catch fire flies.
Make some homemade ice cream, or a family favorite of ours, have a catfish fry! Go camping, or make a giant slip-n-slide!
Whatever you decide to do with the next 92 days, know this…whatever their ages, your kids are likely to hold on to the memories they are about to make for the rest of their lives!
I want to also remind you that if you haven’t received my gift for you: The Family Strong Blueprint, you can get your copy today by texting the word “family” to the number 345345.
The Family Strong Blueprint is your personal guide to helping you build a strong family. It’s a digital toolbox packed with tips and tools to help up you construct a plan to become an even stronger family. And, the best part of all – it’s free!
Again, simply text the word “family” to the number 345345 and get The Family Strong Blueprint.
Jeffrey Dean is a family influencer, author, and counselor whose mission is to help build strong families. For information about having Jeffrey speak in your community, contact our office.