By Jody Montgomery
Summer is sneaking up and is right around the bend. Much needed “down time” will be welcomed by lounging sleep-till-noon tweens/teens. Rousing the energy after a few days of summer slumber is not only needed but also necessary, or a parent’s summer may be one of griping, stress and heavy sighs.
When mentioning “volunteer work” your children may raise an eyebrow, laugh and question if you need medical assistance.
But teens can volunteer and give back to their community by discovering and following their passions. If the passion is basketball, perhaps there is a need for a “coach” at a park or recreational setting. If the passion is art, perhaps nearby art classes could use a teen to help ignite a younger child. Our teens are powerful contributors and need to have opportunities to offer their talents and gifts.
According to Psychology Today:
“Through hands-on work that benefits others, teens learn to critically think about the world around them—about social and environmental issues that bring purpose to their lives. They discover heart-felt connections that remain with them a lifetime, shaping their civic identities. Often, these volunteer jobs lead to future careers.”
The tweens can opt for helping neighbors, joining the Silliman Jr. Lifeguard program, taking care of critters for a weekend, helping with activities at the library.
Young children can help mom and dad at home with yard work, painting, sweeping, raking, digging, and pulling weeds.
Any volunteer, or even paid jobs, offer a sense of pride at any age. With pride comes a higher self esteem, a sense of self worth, a feeling of purpose.
Activities are also abundant in the summer, including outdoor musical concerts both in Newark and in Fremont, art festivals, rock climbing, park visits, Ardenwood events, baseball games, and classes discovering talents and hidden interests.
Video games as well as TV time should be limited as the world is beckoning for your child’s gifts.
Allow, embrace and encourage mindfulness and purpose…after the R&R time. Families are important so with longer days, perhaps the window opens for more opportunities for family time.
Volunteerism and activities are a great balance for a fun-filled summer.
Have a worthwhile and productive as well as relaxing time, and don’t mind those raised eyebrows. Trust yourself and trust your child! Magic can occur when given a chance!