I used to love May with its increasing warmer weather, greening grass and signs of summer right around the corner. I could hardly stick with bedtime routines, wanting the kids to enjoy the lengthening nights, fireflies and the first sounds of crickets.

Slowly, something shifted in May. What once was an enjoyable end-of- the-year teacher party (my kids drew pictures or took flowers to thank their teachers) turned into a full blown affair only an event coordinator had the capacity to pull off. Children were given parts to memorize. Parents were assigned food categories, some of which I previously didn’t even know existed. Kids felt mounting pressure to give gifts similar to those that other parents—I mean kids—gave their teachers. Then came the poetry recitals, the field days and graduation. What?! Graduation from kindergarten, fourth grade, eight grade? Really? And why were all of these squeezed into May? If this wasn’t crazy enough, I faced additional meetings to coordinate practice for these events. And then the drama! Oh, the drama of which child felt left out or slighted by my child. Whose turn it was to invite the other to spend the night? And so forth.

Really, people? Really?! We want to raise our kids like this? I didn’t.

But it was our youngest who brought me to the realization that I was buying into the craziness. After three consecutive years of winning the poetry contest for her grade (which meant she then had to present at the school level and then at the tri-school recital), she put a firm stop to it all. The following year she memorized a poem (required) that had parts for two voices (not allowed for entry into the contest). Despite her teacher’s reminder and her mother’s gentle but oh so persistent persuasion to memorize a different poem so that she could win as she had in the past, she refused on the grounds that it was too exhausting. This was at the ripe old age of ten. And that is when it dawned on me: I too had bought into the craziness. Yes, these can be great opportunities for our kids. But when does this become more about us? About our pride? Our fear? Even our unbelief? Are we pushing our kids so they will be successful? And according to whose standards? Society’s? Ours? God’s?

How many of our values are more deeply rooted in the way we were raised than in godly principles?

This summer I’m focusing on the origin of our values and what drives us to live the way we live.
I’ll be looking at the importance of our story of origin, where we first determined what our own values would be, and where we may still be trying to suck our worth from these values. I will even look at how our story of origin impacts how we view scripture today.

And in the process, may we all rest in a deep belief in the sovereignty of a God who wrote our stories in the first place. May we inhale his goodness, enjoy the warmth of his creation, and take time to rest and re-recreate during these summer months.

Shari Thomas