Summer, Songs, and Study

It's only two years old, but Jen Hatmaker's blogpost "Worst End of School Year Mom Ever" is destined to become a classic, reposted annually by moms wading through papers, forms, homework, projects, and reports that still require their attention and signatures. Of my four children, only the 3rd grader continues to present her folder to me faithfully every Thursday to sign the three. separate. blanks. that require my name. For the love…

I confess to being right there with Jen, begging for the school year to end so I can fall victoriously on the couch, arms raised in victory. "My job here is done!"

Only, as moms everywhere know, even after 8th grade and preschool graduations (my oldest and youngest, respectively), our jobs never end. There yawns before us a vast canvas of space and time called Summer. 

With three kids who love to read (and one almost-reader who doesn't stand a chance with siblings like that), my husband and I have not really struggled with getting them to spend quality time with books during their summer break. We do monitor their electronics and TV time and allow for occasional camps and sports. But since they attend public school, we have tried to add a little spiritual "schooling" to their summers. Nothing huge, but some directed biblical content to supplement church and Sunday school.

The older they get, the easier this becomes. A few summers, we used a computer-based homeschool curriculum. We may pull that out again for our younger children eventually. But this summer, we're turning to the radio and to old-fashioned Bible study methods. Specifically, we're tackling the lyrics in a song by For King and Country called "Fix My Eyes." In this song, the singer reflects on what he would tell his younger self. He would 

"Live like I'm not scared

Give when it's not fair

Live life for another

Take time for a brother

Fight for the weak one

Speak out for freedom

Find faith in the battle

Stand tall

And above it all, Fix My Eyes on You, Jesus."

Take a listen:


This week, my three big kids each picked two lines they wished to investigate. The question to answer: What does the Bible say about this topic? Freedom, courage, faith, justice, encouragement, fear, generosity…"

First, they will think through the stories they already know, the usual ones you find in children's Bibles or something they remember from church. Then I will help them learn how to do a word study, then how to use a Bible dictionary and commentary. It's early days yet so I don't have a formal outline for what I want their finished product to look like. 

What would you suggest? A full written report, plus illustrations? Annotated bibliography? Possible added lyrics?

I jest, mostly. I hope this summer exercise will empower them in their walk with the Lord—as they learn how to use tools for examining scripture, how to find concepts within narrative, how to evaluate what they hear (even on Christian radio stations). I know they listen to song lyrics; with this project I hope they will grow confident in their ability to discover the truth of scripture, and learn to fix their eyes on the One who embodies each characteristic in this song.

Who knows, maybe we'll end up sending the band a Bible study based on their song?!

How do you encourage spiritual growth in your kids?

Kelley Mathews (Th.M., Dallas Theological Seminary) has written and edited for the Christian market for more than 20 years. Currently a writer for RightNow Media, she lives in North Texas with her husband and their four children. She has partnered with Sue Edwards to coauthor Mixed Ministry, Women’s Retreats, Leading Women Who Wound, Organic Ministry to Women, and 40 Questions about Women in Ministry. Find her books and blog at KelleyMathews.com.