Make Summer Memories

Tom Lukasik, 4KIDS VP of Community Engagement

Summer ushers in the chance to slow down and really connect with our kids. Now you might be thinking, summer also ushers in challenges with kids’ schedules, trying to find time for vacations, and even our non-stop South Florida heat. But instead of looking into summer feeling overwhelmed, I would challenge you to see the opportunities to make memories that kids will cherish more than you may realize. 

 

The little things

When my wife Linda and I were foster parents, we learned how the seemingly little things were what made the kids in our home feel the most special. Over the years I’ve reconnected with many of the kids who we cared for, and they often remember a birthday tradition Linda started doing with the kids. It was the 1990’s and we had one of those dot matrix printers and with it she would print, “Happy Amber Day!” Using each child’s name instead of just a generic “Happy Birthday” sign – it felt like such a small thing, but it meant so much. *Amber later told me how she remembered it wasn’t just a regular day, it was “Amber Day,” and it was a memory she carried with her even after she left our home. 

It didn’t take a big, over-the-top party or a pile of gifts to make them feel loved. It was feeling seen and celebrated that impacted their hearts. The same is true for our biological kids too. Our kids are longing just to be with us as parents. They aren’t longing for an expensive weeklong trip that might be out of your budget this year. 

In fact, I can remember taking some of the girls Linda and I were fostering to Orlando to enjoy some of the parks one summer. We couldn’t swing the cost of a resort, so instead we opted for a nearby condo with a community pool. We’d oscillate between a day in the park and a day at the community pool, and these girls couldn’t have been happier. We were making memories. We were connecting, playing and having fun. This is what all kids long for, and it’s the way God designed them. 

 

God’s Design

summer memoriesThere’s something for us to learn from remembering that Jesus was once a child in a family. Jesus could have returned to us in so many different ways, but he came to us as a baby who grew to be a kid in an ordinary family. In a unique way, Jesus even had an adopted dad in Joseph. We also know he was part of a spiritual community, and Luke 2:52 tells us, “And Jesus grew in wisdom and stature, and in favor with God and man.” 

We believe God wants the same things for our kids, regardless of whether they are in foster care, adopted or part of their biological family. Look for ways to connect with your kids this summer and make memories that will build them up into the people God designed them to be. It may not always seem like it but their hearts desire time and connection with you far more than screen time. 

For kids who are away from their biological families this summer and instead in foster care, we know we have the special opportunity to step into their lives and offer the precious gift of love and connection when they need it most. 4KIDS Foster Families go the extra mile, not just during summer, but all year long to help our kids feel special. 

It is my prayer for you that you would discover a deeper connection with the kids in your lives – whether they be your children, nieces or nephews, or grandchildren. And that you would also consider how you can support a 4KIDS Foster Family who is bringing love, connection and family memories to kids in need every day. 

 

*Names have been changed to protect the identities of the children we serve.

For more information on 4KIDS of South Florida, visit https://4kids.us/

For more stories on foster care, visit https://www.goodnewsfl.org/topic/life/family/

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