So, I posted a bird’s eye view of the entire summer vacation with teens here.
Then I sat on it for a few days and realized, while summer does *feel* like that to me. I do face the last week of every summer tapping out with “uncle.” However, there are other truths that I failed to share.
The overriding foundation that I intentionally play toward all summer is: if he doesn’t use it, he’ll lose it.
Research shows that the teenage brain goes through a “pruning” process. After age 13, their brains start to hone themselves, getting leaner and more efficient. Whatever is unused floats away and the physical connections of memories are sorted to the deep unconscious.
If Jordan’s summer revolves around screens, texting and videos, then that will dominate the connections in his brain. Since my deeply held belief that life in all it’s glory fuels technology, it’s my responsibility to lay a foundation in 3-D.
NO pressure… for ten to twelve weeks just structure with enthusiasm and excitement the one segment of the year I have semi-control over so he has full access to the brain connections he has. 😉
I take fun very seriously, dang it.
The other truth is, I absolutely adore him.
He has a snarky sense of humor, is outgoing and gracious to strangers, authentically engages with whatever situation he is in, has an intuitive instinct for danger or threat, and uses his own money for movies with his friends. Seriously – who wouldn’t want to hang out with him all summer!?!?!
So truth be told, here is really what summer with my teen means to me:
1) Barista Contests or really, any contest that has to do with music, sports, or food. Not art. Or museums. Although I joked in this post about taking him to a barista contest, I really did. He said it was “cool” and ended up taking these photos…
2) Historic events. For example, he’s probably not going to like this, but there is a local celebration of 150 years of the abolition of slavery and we’re going. We’re going to eat authentic African food. We’re going to talk to people who had relatives that were freed. We’re going to save brain cells because history will come alive.
3) Family celebrations – We celebrated a parent’s retirement. When a friend was graduating 8th grade, he said, “Let’s go!” This is who we are and what we are about. I have the summer to reinforce celebrations.
4) Boredom without screens – He will go outside, pick up the guitar, flip through a magazine, take photos with his camera, and listen to the music on the TV stations but he will also retain a few intellectual connections that the Iphone would have cost him.
5) Home stuff– I count chores, yard work, errands part of what his brain needs to know and remember. You’re welcome, future daughter-in-law.
6) Debit card– He prefers cash, but this summer we are going to master the debit card. Why? Because in two years, his senior year, I’m giving him a credit card. Scary thought? I decided it was scarier not to.
It’s just day three for us, but my intention for this summer is to enjoy and love wholeheartedly this young man. Some days it will mean pouring time into him as he will let me. Other days I walk alongside and respect his journey. The motivation and inspiration to stay engaged on the days it’s 11:00 and he’s still in the bed, is to save the brain connections. Each day, save the brain connections through fun, love, and mom connection.