For as long as I can remember, belonging has mattered to me. I experienced its power and beauty in my own family. It’s easy to look back and remember groups I belonged to in high school and college. It’s with those groups that I have most of my memories.

I can easily remember some of the second graders I taught who struggled to fit in. I saw their insecurities affect everything. It still makes me sad today. This pattern was also noticeable with my college students. I was privileged to intervene in both settings to establish healthier connections among students.

Belonging within our families is an important foundation to our security. Knowing how we stand within our families – including our extended families – informs our identity. Because of what I observed, It’s my guess that students who struggled were challenged somehow in their belonging at home.

What do you do that strengthens your family bond? Does your family have strong friendships with other families? Being strategic in both cases is good for adults and kids. Families who purposefully and consistently engage with other families form stronger bonds among themselves and not just with the other families. It’s a win-win.

This is always true. And, because another academic year will soon be upon us, I want you to think now about the quality of your family bond. Why? Because the stronger it is, the better your communication with your kids will be. The more confident they’ll be to head out your door and into another. The more likely they are to know themselves well and how to present themselves to teachers and peers. And, as I often say, having fun together has many benefits including that the challenging days are easier to take.

Being strategic in the remaining weeks of summer might give your kids just the boost they need to begin another school year with confidence.

What if you set out to have local adventures? You’ll all benefit from and enjoy a few evenings and Saturdays or Sundays out of the house exploring something local. This doesn’t have to be a big deal. It doesn’t have to take lots of time. You can keep it simple.

A woman I’ve gotten to know and greatly appreciate, Laura Hoevener, wrote a book with Terri Weeks specifically about Adventures Around Cincinnati. Check it out for sure if you’re going there or live in the area.

I appreciate that they pulled out and generalized the first section of the book as Adventures Around You. This fabulous piece has insights for all of us, no matter where we live. It’s free with Kindle unlimited. It’s only $2.99 for your Kindle or other devices.

They define an adventure as “a planned outing on a day we set aside to explore a new destination with our kids.” Check out all the benefits they write about:

• Memories for a Lifetime
• A Tradition to Remember
• A Family that Plays Together, Stays Together
• Prepare Kids for Challenges
• Expand your Comfort Zone
• The Confidence Builder
• Adding Structure
• Take Some Risks, Reap the Rewards
• Accountability Makes All the Difference
• That’s What Friends are For
• Sharing your Knowledge and Experience

Seriously?! Isn’t this a great list? Laura and Terri’s content and examples will encourage you. I’ve heard people talking about their regrets that the summer is almost over and they haven’t had much fun or changed things up for their kids. It’s not too late. Have an adventure this week!