In just days, the calendar will flip to fall. Like many people, I heart fall. I mean, what is not to love? The flavors are incredible (hello cranberries, apples, and pumpkins!). The temperatures are incredible. It’s gorgeous with all the changing leaves. It seems so reflective in its nature. And, well, there’s football.
And so earlier this summer, as I was checking things off of my Summer of Intentionality, I couldn’t help but think about applying its principles (perhaps in a bit smaller way since there is a little less free time in the fall than summer more naturally allows) to the fall. And so I dreamed up Fall Frolic, a riff off of Summer of Intentionality.
What is Summer of Intentionality, you might be wondering if you are a new blog reader. SoI was born from something a friend’s family did while he was growing up. Here’s the story:
For a LOT of summers, I worked at an intensive, residential, summer enrichment program for high school students called Love of Learning. The program always began with a very intense, often emotional staff retreat to help us form bonds and make plans that would enrich our work. Usually, the retreat started with the writing of personal mission statements. I LOVED writing my mission statement (and included a mission statement writing exercise in Beautiful You) and hearing everyone else’s. One of my closest co-workers was a dear friend who was a year behind me in college. One year, he include part of Rudyard Kipling’s If in his mission statement, adding the words from the top of his head as he and I worked in the corner with some chocolate candy between us.
“Dude, how did you know that?” I asked, impressed.
And that’s when he shared about the coolest parenting strategy I’ve ever heard.
Every summer that he was growing up (I believe this started the summer before Kindergarten), his parents sat him down and said, “what all do you want to do this summer?” And he would come up with this super list: go to the local amusement park, check out a pro or semi-pro baseball game, have a friend spend the night, camp out, go to the beach, you know the stuff of little kids’ (and not so little kids’) summer dreams. They then said, “what do you want to learn or experience this summer” and that list would read like: learn how to throw a football spiral, identify 5 insects, write grandma three times, read Tales of a Fourth Grade Nothing, etc. Then his parents would add their own things to the learn or experience list like “Memorize Rudyard Kipling’s If”, “volunteer”, etc. Next, they’d line up reward with experience. Write your grandma three times, you can go camping, etc. Memorize Kipling’s If and you get to go to a baseball game. Those lists hit the refrigerator and then it was up to my friend, by being intentional about how he spent his time, to make things happen. If he did what was on the “to experience” list, he earned what was on the ”to do” list. Hence, more than a decade later, he still had If (a great poem for a kid to know) in his head. Does it come as NO surprise that this friend is the one whose parents let him fall asleep reading?
While Happy is a little bit too young to get the full corollary of the list, we do our own version of SoI at our house, too, because I love a good list and a list is the best way to get me out of my routine and doing fun things for me and for Happy.
So now, I can’t help but envision a fall of frolicking. Especially because my current goal- the back to school fall feeling that I most want- is spaciousness and savoring. Taking big bites of life with my sweet little family.
I want to invite you, too, to think about what feeling you want from your fall (or, if your seasons are the opposite of mine, then spring) and to then create a list of things you can do independently or with loved ones in order to make the most of this moment in your life and fall.
My current Fall Frolic list (you’ll see some are family oriented and some are just for me!):
1. Paint or carve pumpkins
2. Jump in leaves.
3. Pick apples.
4. Go to the maize maze.
5. Go to the Renaissance Festival.
6. Go on a family bike ride.
7. Go on a hike.
8. Try 5 new recipes.
9. Have a hot stone massage.
10. Read 8 books.
12. Take my birthday off.
13. Hear live music.
14. Write at least 5 entries in Happy’s journal.
15. Clean Happy’s closet.
16. Organize garage.
17. Make potting bench.
18. Set up a rain barrel.
19. Plant fall garden.
20. Celebrate my dad’s life as he turns 75.
Today, prepare for your own Fall Frolic.
1. Can you see Fall Frolic working for you?
2. What feeling do you want your fall to evoke?
3. Given that, what is on your Fall Frolic list?