Father and son builiding a sand castle. | JOSEP BAGUR GOMILA

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The summer season is upon us and most parts of the world are experiencing excessive heat. Temperatures are reaching extremes and these are some of the effects of the climate change. Notably this is the time when our children have a long break from school and parents like me appreciate the great job that is being done by teachers by spending the whole day with our children. Normally, I feel that impact during weekends when I spend two full days with my three boys.

It is not an easy thing to look after little children especially boys. They fight for toys and commit themselves to very risky activities. Having children is a big responsibility and most of the time we live for them because our daily schedule and other important decisions are centred on them. They define our lifestyles and interests. That freedom of doing what you enjoy most as a couple is gone the moment you have children. They control all your activities and dreams. Most schools close either on the 22nd or 23rd June.

However, some of the institutions will be organizing some summer programmes for the kids. This means that the day routine duties of taking them to school and bringing them back are over. However, you would agree with me as parents that that routine is better than having them at home the whole day. Spending the day with them requires more energy and commitment and great care. This is a daunting task but it is our duty as parents to love and care for them.

Summer time is an opportunity for parents to spend quality time with their children. During school days both parents and children are tired at the end of the day. Parents are tired from their packed work schedule which includes school runs while children are also tired from school activities. Spending that quality time together becomes difficult.

Summer time gives that opportunity as our children will be at home full time and it is incumbent upon parents to reduce their workload and create time to be with their children. We live in a materialistic world where making money becomes the biggest priority while neglecting other fundamentals for a healthy society.

Good parenting practices should be our biggest priority as parents. The bible is awash with scriptural references on parenting styles. Some of those styles might be outdated and not applicable to a 21st century family setting but most of them are timeless basics. One such a text is Proverbs 22:6, “Start children off on the way they should go, and even when they are old they will not turn from it.” The text does not prescribe how you parent your children but it leaves room for parenting methods that are relevant to any context. What the text is calling for is for parents to take their parenting duty seriously. When we neglect our parenting duties and leave them to media we are jeopardizing the future of our children. Spending quality time with our children has great benefits for them and us as well. According to Jones (2017), “Children who are spending more quality time with their families are less likely to participate in risky behaviours such as drug and alcohol usage.”

Claire Roudabush and Audrey Rider further argue that, “showing your children that you love and care for them helps to keep them mentally and emotionally strong.” This means that as parents we are most of the time responsible for some of the suicidal behaviours we see in some of the youth today. Those youth might have lacked good parenting at the time they needed it most.

Spending quality time with our children is not about having a lot of money to take them for holidays abroad. Often some parents give excuses for not spending quality time with their children because they do not have enough money to go for a holiday abroad. No! It is not about that.

These are some of the simple things to do: 1. Having dinner together with your children. 2. Watching television together as a family. 3. Praying together before going to bed. 4. Taking a walk together as a family in the coolness of the night. These days I walk with my eldest son and during that walk discuss subjects of his interest and it has helped a lot to understand his interests and dreams. 5. Going shopping together. 6. Lastly, it is hot and why not spending time together playing at the beach. Those simple things will make a great impact on us and on our children.