6 minute read

The Hope That Comes From Springtime and Summer

Last Updated: May 11, 2022

Susanna Parent
Susanna Parent

Susanna Parent is a freelance writer and Wisconsin native, who now begins her mornings brewing French press coffee in the home she shares with her husband and children in the Twin Cities. When the sun sets, you’ll find her with friends enjoying a glass of red wine, preferably outside underneath twinkly lights. When not exploring all that the Twin Cities has to offer, she is indulging her wanderlust spirit by brainstorming their family’s next new adventure.

“Spring is when you feel like whistling, even with a shoe full of slush”.

As a Midwesterner, this quote by Doug Larson has me smiling. So long as the snow is melting, the sun is warm upon my back, and the sound of birds can be heard in the trees, I may as well dust off my sandals for summer!

I love the turn of the season from winter to spring. Don’t get me wrong, I am all in for a cup of hot cocoa, bundled up on the couch, watching the snowfall outside, but I don’t prefer to be out in it. Plus, springtime has that first-day-of-school feel to it. While it may not be the time of year to sharpen pencils, it is the time of year that seems to sharpen one’s senses. We see color re-enter the world as flowers and trees begin to bud; we hear the pitter-patter of the rain and once again the laughter of children playing outside. We taste the juicy flavors of grilled meat as we head back out to our grills, the scent of freshly mowed grass fills our noses, and we finally feel the warmth of the sun on our faces as we cross into the vernal equinox. Spring is truly a time of hope.

With more hours of sunlight being added to our days, our body produces more dopamine, that “feel good” neurotransmitter. This chemical helps us to feel more alert, motivated, and improves our mood. The more time you spend in the sun, the more dopamine your body produces.

Here are a few ideas for you and your family to step away from your tech devices and embrace this new season as a time of fresh starts and new life!

Digital Detox

It pains me to know that each day during the decade between ages 8 and 18, kids spend over 25% of their 24 hours looking at a screen. This is why Covenant Eyes created Digital Detox, a seven-day plan to help you and your family reconnect…without the use of technology.

Just like starting a new diet or meal plan takes a lot of intention and preparation in order to succeed, so too does getting your family ready for a successful digital detox.  That’s why Covenant Eyes is there to help.

Throughout the seven-day detox,  you’ll receive information to help you better understand the kind of digital culture your kids are living in as well as give you the tools to help them make better choices online. This detox includes fun conversation starters and ideas for games and outdoor activities.

With the approach of summertime comes the onset of summer vacations, and perhaps a couple of road trips. Consider limiting the screen time your children use while on the road, and instead, use it to reclaim family time.

Safe Digital Family Challenge

There are many concerns about the safety of children using social media. Just one concern is how the use of social media makes it easy for sexual curiosity to result in the consumption of pornography or sexting. An article by the American Academy of Pediatrics titled Teenagers, Sexting, and the Law argues that teen-to-teen sexting is “a health and education issue” that must be addressed. “With the advent of smartphones, the past decade has witnessed a new manifestation of adolescent sexual behavior known as sexting,” and in addition, “US state laws on sexting vary widely, from decriminalization to misdemeanor charge or prosecution for child pornography with harsh sentences.” This is where the Safe Digital Family Challenge is here to help!

While the Digital Detox is a great launching pad for creating overall safer online habits and environments for your children, the seven-day Safe Digital Family Challenge will help you maintain new resolutions. It is designed to inform and equip you to help your children navigate the internet wisely and avoid pornography while also enriching their understanding of their identity and sexuality. Just a couple of things you will learn along the way are how to keep your children safe on YouTube, how to set restrictions on their iPhone and/or iPad, and the ever-important task of preparing them for approaching social media safely.

Warm Weather Activities for Children of ALL Ages

As you reclaim family time and make new resolutions, here are a few ideas to help keep you motivated.

Plant a Garden

Planting a garden is a great way for the whole family to literally “dig deep” into the spring season! My family started our first garden when our daughter was just eight months old, at the suggestion of my doctor. When weeding and harvest time began, I brought a blanket into the garden for her to sit on while I worked. It was a fun activity for us to do together, and in the words of her pediatrician, “growing a garden has the dual benefit of putting healthy foods on your family’s table, and digging in the dirt is great for your daughter’s microbiome!” The next summer, when my daughter was walking and talking, she wobbled her little feet-in-training across the uneven mounds of soil to help pluck cherry tomatoes off of their vines and carry them back up to our house in her little garden pail. It has been a springtime activity that has brought our family not only an abundant harvest but also an abundance of joy.

Hiking and Picnicking

Whether your children are toddlers or teenagers, hiking is a perfect way to get into nature to breathe in the great outdoors. Little ones can enjoy the scenery via child carriers, and older kids can break in their summer shoes. Invite your kids to help plan the outdoor adventure by asking for their input on what trails or parks they’d like to visit and what kinds of foods they’d like to pack for a family picnic. Maybe some of these foods can even come from your family garden!

Feed the Birds

In the winter, I always dread running out to our bird feeder to pour more birdseed into the feeder, but in the summer, it’s a delight. I have fond childhood memories of my mom making pine cone bird feeders with me, and it is something I hope to do with my own children this spring. It is one of the simplest crafts you can do! All you have to do is tie a piece of twine around a pine cone, coat the pine cone with peanut butter, and then roll it into a plate of birdseed. Then, hang it wherever you’re hoping to see the birds!

Rainy Day Reading

If you find your family stuck inside due to rain, make it a family reading day where you all bring your favorite books into the family room together. Here are a few reading recommendations to help you build up your knowledge base on how to fight porn, and they are all available for free download.

Your Brain on Porn

This book uses research to explain how pornography has been proven to distort the mind and offers three biblical ways to renew.

The Porn Circuit

We know that porn is addicting, but this ebook actually shows you why. And, it doesn’t just stop there. It also explains how the brain is able to rewire itself, offering porn users the ability to break porn’s destructive cycle.

Porn Stats

I am a big statistics fan, and this book provides over 250 facts, quotes, and statistics about porn use. Use this ebook as a guide to jumpstart your own research about porn use, porn and psychology, and how the porn industry actually works.

While changing your family’s habits may sound intimidating, just remember the words of John Wayne who said, “Courage is being scared to death, but saddling up anyway.” You can do this!