On giving up

Summer 2011.

Summer 2011.

Guys, I have been exercising like a crazy woman lately. (I've also been eating like a crazy woman, but that's another story.) I'm doing this boot camp. And I'm running. And, did I mention the boot camp? Because my arms feel like dead weights just flopping around my torso.

So, Saturday I attended boot camp at 7 AM. I know it's not THAT early, but it's early enough that my body screamed at me in a really high-pitched, angry scream when I drug it out of bed at 6:30. I ignored my body and hauled its lifeless self to the field where I tortured it for a good 50 minutes. And when I came home I was all proud and boastful-like. I said, "Sterling! Aren't you so proud of me for going to bootcamp at 7 AM?"

And he gave me a funny look and said, "Sure." Which was totally not what I was going for. So I said, "Look. You should be plenty happy I haven't completely given up." He laughed and praised me (half-heartedly) and went about his merry way.

I was left to think about "giving up." 

Sometimes I wonder if I've "given up" on some of the important stuff with my younger two kids. For instance, when Jordan was in sixth grade, I was still in full-on kid mode. I instituted programs and made sticker charts and fashioned schoolbus cakes from the Family Fun magazine. We were DOING THINGS, and MAKING THINGS, and ACCOMPLISHING THINGS. And now? I kind of just want to MAKE IT THROUGH. 

Is this laziness?

Or wisdom?

Probably some of both.

But in the spirit of enduring to the end, I'm instituting a summer reading "program" over here. My oldest two love to read. And while the two youngers are strong students, neither has yet accepted reading into their heart as the best thing about the entire universe. And this pains me. So I'm not giving up.

We are going to read the Harry Potter series. I think both kids have read the first book. Not reading the other six books, it seems to me, is a travesty and renders their childhoods essentially incomplete. And I'm NOT giving up. Not me.

Here's my initial plan, subject to modifications:

  1. Start by reading the first book out loud. Together. The sheer time commitment of this task seems a little daunting, but considering the amount of time I dedicated to watching seven seasons of The West Wing, I think I can make it through a read-along of Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone.
  2. Set aside some dedicated quiet reading time. This is for me as well. I've got some dissertation reading to slug through. I'm thinking we will do this in the mornings while our brains are fresh and before the children have departed to the four winds.
  3. Engage in a bit of Harry Potter mania -- try out some trivia games, make some Butter Beer, maybe even (gasp!) watch a movie. You know, teach them about finding a passion and completely obsessing over it. Or, alternately, have a bit of enforced fun.
  4. Set some goals. Also known as bribery. There will be a mighty fine prize should they complete all seven books.
  5. Work on journals. I actually did this with Parker last summer, and it was fairly successful. This is just 15 minutes of writing a day in a notebook all jazzed up with "SUMMER 2013" on the cover. It takes some work to be a good writer. Write a little everyday. 

Any other summer suggestions for the betterment of our youth? I'm all ears. . .