Source: St. Lawrence Orthodox Church
• Students and parents of students: End the school year deliberately. Celebrate in a simple manner what was done well this year, and also make a list of what to improve next year. Put the list in an obvious place and use it for planning in the fall.
• While school is out, spend time with family and friends. Summer is an opportunity for extended amounts of time together. Whether married or single, put together the opportunity for quality time. Do things that create shared memories and experiences.
• Plan to get away from technological distractions (Internet, TV, iPods, video games, cell phones, etc.) and risk experiencing human existence as God provided for it. Plan a real adventure, whether on the road or in your backyard — one that includes getting dirty, breaking a sweat, being in nature, and using no mirrors.
• In the midst of a rich time together, have a goal of deeper significance worked into the plan. Read a spiritual book out loud with the family or friends gathered at some point each evening. Make a list of things you think are important to address as a unit of family or friends and address them.
• Make some alone time with the purpose of introspection, especially if it is not an activity that comes naturally. Socrates was on the right track saying, “Know Thyself.” Christ said, “Love God and your neighbor as yourself,” which assumes self-knowledge. Reflecting on Socrates, St. Basil the Great surmised, “Truly, to know oneself is the most difficult thing,” which means experiencing it takes intention.
• Request additional grace to cover your summer travel and vacations. Shortly before you go, have traveling prayers said over you by a priest. When traveling by car, plane, train, bike, etc., always bless the vehicle with the sign of cross and a short prayer, “Lord bless this vehicle and keep us safe. Amen.” If you see any accidents, make the sign of the cross and pray for those involved. When you arrive safely at your destination, give thanks to God.
• Make an effort to have the whole family on a similar meal schedule. Get up a little earlier or eat a little later for the family’s sake. Like prayer, family communion is best experienced at the beginning and end of the day. And pray before each meal.
• Shared experiences are the foundation stones of friendship and memories. Make the effort to fulfill a little dream for each member of the family. Enjoy whatever ends up happening and make the best out of everything. Some of the best memories are made out of enduring humorously through plans gone wrong and keeping a good attitude.
• Vacations are often more demanding than just staying at home or being in school. Plan the ideal “do-it-all” vacation and then cut the activities in half; less is more.
• With school out, summer activities underway, and vacations in the works, it’s easy to miss a regular tithe here and there. Stability thrives with consistency, so when leaving town, please plan ahead and drop off tithes at the church office.
Many blessings and a memorable summer to all the servants of Christ!
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