I remember the day my parents bought our first desktop computer. It was a bulky white box and displayed less than six colors. As a young girl in the middle of my elementary years, I was fascinated and addicted from the first time I used it.
When I look back at my childhood, you know what’s funny? My favorite memories have more to do with real life than looking at the computer screen.
Playing outside with the neighbors for hours on end. Jumping on trampolines. Swinging on swings. Watering flowers. Sitting on the front porch and watching cars drive by. Riding bikes. Reading books. Playing board games. Imagining. Creating. Baking.
Thirty years later, as I walk through a pandemic that has shut down my hectic schedule, I’m reflecting and realizing that God has called me to return to my roots. And in doing so, to build lasting memories for my kids to carry into their adulthood.
Less screens, more people. Less noise, more quiet. Less social media, more real-life memories with the ones I love.
Here are a few ways I’m doing that this summer…
Road Trips and Outdoor Excursions
Sports leagues and camps have been cancelled, and quite frankly, my kids were showing signs of depression this past spring. So my husband and I determined to give them something to look forward to. We would make this a summer to remember.
We started off with a road trip to explore national parks. We drove thousands of miles, took a zillion pictures, and watched our kids’ eyes light up with wonder and joy again. Other summer plans include camping, hiking, bonfires, and exploring new places. Ever since our kids have been school-aged, we’ve never had a wide-open summer calendar. We’re not letting the opportunity slip by.
Front Yard Sitting
If I’m honest, I haven’t interacted with my neighbors as much as I should. Between seasonal allergies and excessive responsibilities, I haven’t spent much time outside in the neighborhood.
But with the recent crises, I determined to change that. I started by reaching out to one of my black neighbors. A lot has happened in our world, and I wanted to hear her perspective and understand. We sat in my yard and united in our love for each other and Christ.
I decided I’m going to set my lawn chair out front and sit there more often, with no agenda but reading a book and being there if a neighbor happens to walk by. I’m ashamed it took me this long to do that, but I think it pleases God when I’m present and shining His light on my street.
Shutting Down News Feeds
My wake-up call this spring was suffering anxiety attacks. Never in my life have I been captive to their grip, but when I stepped back to observe, I noticed a pattern. When I watched the news or scrolled through social media feeds, I woke up with a racing heartbeat and suffocating thoughts that night. When I shut everything off, I slept peacefully.
The swirl of opinions, theories, finger pointing, and fear mongering is more than any of us can bear. But for some reason, I kept going back for more, lapping it all up even though I knew it was destroying me.
Even positive, biblical messages got lost in the noise, and God pricked my heart one day with a gentle whisper. Why are you looking for spiritual crumbs from other people when you can come straight to Me, the Bread of Life? I’m the Source of peace, hope, and joy. I have endless stores of wisdom to guide you through this world. Stop listening to everyone else and come back to Me. My eyes were opened, and my Bible was too.
That, in a nutshell, is my path to build memories that last. Shutting off screens, tuning into God, and paying attention to the people right in front of me.
This summer is a perfect chance to return to the “good old days.” Real life. Real people. Real connection. Will you join me?