Lazy Days of Summer

by Jennifer Miller

Deep summer is when laziness finds respectability.

– Sam Keen

As school ends and summer begins, we are sitting outside and dreaming of the many delights the season brings. We have big plans to read, swim, blow bubbles, build sandcastles, catch fireflies and sit and watch the clouds. Last year, I put together a summer reading list of favorite parenting books. This year, I am highlighting the top five all time favorite, most-read posts for your summer reading. See if they may bring you new or renewed insights. Confident Parents, Confident Kids is taking a vacation to play, to be and to live in the spirit of the warm sun. Rest assured, the posts will return in August with the start of the school year. Meanwhile, my wish for you is for lazy summer days.

Confident Parents, Confident Kids Top Five Posts:

1. Parent-Teacher Conversations

Teachers gain plenty of experience over time having difficult conversations about students with parents. However if you are parent, you may only experience difficult conversations with teachers a few times in your children’s educational careers. It’s conceivable that your child may come home with issues or concerns that merit your initiation of a conversation with a teacher. With only your child’s words to inform you, you need more information and parent teacher convos 3 001the help of her teacher to really understand the problem. “Will I sound like I am accusing the teacher or another student or parent?” “Will the teacher penalize my daughter or like her less because of our conversation?” and “Will my discussion with the teacher lead to tensions between our family and that teacher and possibly other teachers in the future?” These are all valid questions that are raised in the minds of parents before they proceed with a conversation. Read more…

2. Cultivating a Sense of Competence

At all ages and stages, kids admire and desire competence. Particularly as they enter the Thinking about Competence illustr 001middle school years, 10-14, figuring out what they can do and what their interests are establishes the basis for their social and academic life. It can define a friend group and sometimes seals the perception of who a student is with his teachers. Is he a straight “A” student? Does she excel at electronics? Is he a soccer player? My husband claims that competence in music in high school band was primarily responsible for pulling him out of the shyness of his middle school years. Read more…

3. The Power of Self-Control

In the hero’s journey, an ordinary person is called through extraordinary circumstances to sacrifice a part of him or herself in order to serve the greater good. In doing so, the reward or victory is self-knowledge and a demonstration of character that the hero must then use in the world from which he or she came.[i] To be a Jedi Knight in the classic story Star self control illustr 2 001Wars, the means through which Luke Skywalker defeated the darkness was by learning self-discipline. Yoda teaches, “To answer power with power, the Jedi way this is not. In this war, a danger there is, of losing who we are.”[ii] The modern day hero in all of us must defeat the dark forces of fear, ignorance, greed and ego. Listening to and following our truth when faced with difficult decisions requires practice and repeated trials. Temptation to stray from the hero’s path is part of the initiation. The hero typically fails in his attempts numerous times but persists in striving toward greater self-control and self-knowledge. Read more…

4. Expanding the Circle: Teaching Children Inclusion

All children have to deal with and understand the paradox of separateness and connection, of individuality and belonging. In utero, babies have no sense of separation. They are physically connected to Mom through the very liquid they breathe and the cord Expanding the Circle 2 001through which they receive their food. For most children, the birth process will be the biggest stress of their young lives. They discover that they are separate beings but need their attachment to their parents in order to survive. Do you remember in the first few months of your child’s life when he was fascinated with his hands? He was grappling with his individuality and separation. Then, when children enter their first playgroups or preschool, we encourage them to share, to cooperate and to take turns with other children. They have spent most of their time as infants and toddlers figuring out their individuality only to find that they are supposed to connect to others and that there are rules (sometimes confusing since they change in various environments) that govern that involvement. Read more…

5. The Fear of Failure

It may be that the most important mastery we achieve early on is not the mastery of a particular skill or particular piece of knowledge, but rather the mastery of the patience and persistence that learning requires, along with the ability to expect and accept mistakes and the feelings of disappointment they may bring.

– Fred Rogers in Life’s Journeys According to Fred Rogers

“Mama, I didn’t have such a good day yesterday,” E says as he puts on his clothes to Fear of failure illustration 001prepare for another day of school. “I cut out the tree when I should have colored it first.” Now with tears welling up in his eyes, he continues, “And I laughed while I was waiting in line and the teacher said the next time I did it, he would send a note home to you. Will you be really mad if he sends a note home?” Read more…


5 Comments on “Lazy Days of Summer”

  1. Hi Jennifer,

    I’ve clicked on several of the links to past columns in this mailing and they all fail. I’m sure others will want to see them so hope you can put good links in!

    Have a great summer!


    On Fri, May 30, 2014 at 10:48 AM, confident parents confident kids wrote:

    > confidentparentsconfidentkids posted: ” Deep summer is when laziness > finds respectability. – Sam Keen As school ends and summer begins, we are > sitting outside and dreaming of the many delights the season brings. We > have big plans to read, swim, blow bubbles, build sandcastles, catch > firefli”

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