Five Tips for a Purposeful and Engaging Summer with Your Teen

I think we can all agree it feels like Christmas was just a month ago. But in a flash, we’ve blazed through winter (which for us Pacific Northwesterners means suffering through copious amounts of rain) and the end of the school year is already upon us. In fact, some college students only have a couple weeks left!

So, now what? Your teen will be home with you for the summer until you move them into the dorms or they take off to start a new career. What can you do as their parent to make their summer at home memorable, engaging, and most importantly, purposeful?

I believe summer is the best time for us as parent to take advantage of our teens’ presence and slip into some special moments that would otherwise difficult to accomplish. Without further ado, here are five tips for a purposeful and engaging summer with your teen:

  1. Dream about the future together. Over a cup of coffee or at their favorite place, talk with your teen about his or her dreams. What do they want to major in and why? What places do they hope to travel to over the next couple of years? Share your own life experience and how you’ve made your personal dreams a reality. Consider completing this values checklist together, (and this personal balance sheet, if they’re up for it) and let them know you’re always available to talk.
  2. Go on a hike. What better way to build relationship capital with your teen than getting some fresh air? Sometimes new experiences and adventures facilitate conversations you wouldn’t have had elsewhere.
  3. Encourage your teen to invite their friends over to your home. Play host or hostess for a night and get to know the people your teen hangs out with most. Be familiar with their third party voices and know that your teen’s three closest relationships are the ones that impact his or her life the most. It’s a great opportunity to see your teen in her or her element!
  4. Attend a sporting event together. Baseball season is in full swing, and enjoying the fresh spring/summer air while watching a game of ball with your teen is a great way to bond! A round of golf is another great choice—potentially a sport you can enjoy for a lifetime.
  5. Participate in a service project together. Ask your teen what causes she or he is passionate about. Seek out your local churches, shelters, or nonprofit organizations to find what ways you can get involved with your community through volunteering. Impacting the world around you will be an incredibly inspiring, uplifting, and relationship building experience that you’ll never forget.

 

Remember, your teen experiences a ton of pressure during the school year with academics, extracurricular activities, plans for future, and more.. So, be sure to use the summer months to help them decompress and do things they wouldn’t otherwise have time for. These young years will be gone in the blink of an eye (for both of you)!

What timeless memories can you build with your teen this summer?

 

Making the Most of Your Summer Job

Congratulations on landing your summer job! I vividly remember my first—as a grocery “stock boy” at an area store. To be honest, I had some mixed emotions about it. On one hand, my paycheck would far exceed any allowance I ever earned! I’d be able to put some money aside for my college fund and still have some left over for extra spending. On the other hand, I wasn’t sure how much I’d enjoy the job, and I’d miss my old summers that were mostly play. Don’t be surprised if you have some of those same feelings.

So, now with the benefit of hindsight, what are my best tips to help you maximize the value of your summer job experience?

  1. Build your life skills. Whether you’re a barista, cashier, sitter, camp counselor, landscaper, server, or otherwise, you’ll gain valuable life skills you might not even realize. Consider these qualities that employers value: high standards, integrity, dependability (including showing up on time, every time!), teamwork, motivation, resilience, enthusiasm, and relational skill. Depending on your job, you’ll be able to develop these skills, for both the summer and for your eventual career!
  2. Demonstrate your leadership skills. Just by landing your job, you’ve demonstrated leadership abilities. However, if you actively pursue leadership opportunities on the job, you’ll add to your repertoire. These examples will make you a more competitive candidate in future interviews.
  3. Develop a network of ambassadors. Throughout life, especially in your career, you will be helped immeasurably by having a great network of fans. Your supervisor and other adults you’ll be working with are potential ambassadors, references, and connectors for you…provided you demonstrate excellence on the job and earn their support!
  4. Learn from the pros. You’ll undoubtedly be surrounded by experienced employees with great reputations. Observe them and learn as much as you can. Seek out their wisdom and career secrets!
  5. Seek valuable feedback. Your supervisor can give you helpful feedback on your job performance and relational skills. I always made it a point to ask for both positive areas and ways I could improve. Take their criticism constructively and include it in your personal growth plan.
  6. Identify your likes and dislikes. Chances are, your summer job will be different from your eventual career. Nonetheless, you’ll gain valuable perspectives about what you’ll like and dislike in your eventual career and work environment. This will help you select a well-matched career and future employer.
  7. Learn about personal finance. Your summer job will offer you excellent opportunities to grow your understanding of personal finance. You’ll quickly learn the difference between gross and net pay (sorry!) and perhaps open your own checking or savings account. With that, will come all the knowledge of banking, checkwriting, debit cards, identity theft, and more. You’ll also develop valuable saving disciplines and learn how to become a wise spender with your newfound income (especially knowing the difference between needs versus wants!). Make the most of these and other opportunities to improve your financial literacy.

Summer jobs offer so much at this pivotal time of life. The experience may not always be fun or exciting, but it builds strong foundational skills for life! Go for it!

 

Be a Lifelong Learner

School’s out!

I’m not sure who loves to hear those words more—kids or teachers! I guess all those seniors out there finally found the cure for their senioritis. 

But, just because school’s out doesn’t mean learning has to go out the window, as well. Education isn’t just for classrooms! Lifelong learning is a pursuit that will serve kids well for the rest of their lives.

I grew up living the simple life in small-town Wisconsin. It was a childhood I wouldn’t trade for anything in the world. I spent most of my free time either playing sports or hanging out in the woods with my friends. But, while that got me through high school and college just fine, I began to notice something early in my career…most of my peers were more intellectually well-rounded than me. I especially noticed it at gatherings when politics and world affairs were discussed.

I knew I had some serious catching up to do, especially considering the growing number of client meetings I attended. Thankfully, once I committed to stepping up my intellectual game, my confidence grew. It made a huge difference in my investment management career where I evaluated successful leaders.

In this global, knowledge-based economy, students need an insatiable appetite for learning. This means not only expanding their career/major subject knowledge, but also having diverse interests. Encourage them to explore other subject areas  that challenge their minds or satisfy their curiosity.

Summer vacation is a great time to expand your horizons and try something new. Here are some ideas for the young people in your life (or for yourself!):

·      Check out the free summer concerts happening in cities all over; discover some new music

·      Learn a new sport or revisit one you haven’t played in awhile

·      Catch up on current events by reading newspapers or magazines (print or online)

·      Volunteer for a charity

·      Read a book that wasn’t assigned to you

·      Write a book (why not?)

·      Go places: the beach, the park, a museum, the library, the zoo

·      Enjoy the outdoors: try rock climbing, go biking, go kayaking or paddleboarding, go for a hike

·      Job shadow someone who is employed in a career field you’re considering

Encourage the young people you know to stretch their wings a little, to be lifelong learners. It’ll help them advance in their career and make them more well-rounded and dynamic people.

                                                                                 

What are ways you’ve encouraged learning in your children or student outside the classroom? How about for yourself?  How do YOU keep sharp and keep building your repertoire of skills and information? Please comment below and let us know your thoughts and suggestions.