I have very fond memories of summer time as a child. My days were filled with wandering around outside aimlessly, playing with friends, going swimming, family picnics, boredom, attempting cockamamie projects with my brother and drinking lemonade that was too sour. I don’t remember my parents or relatives stressing out at the idea of children under foot. There wasn’t talk in April of what the summer plans would be. Times have changed. Parents begin planning for summer during Spring Break or earlier. Our summer calendars are filled with various camps, classes, workshops and trips. Summer is no longer a time to decompress and de-stress. We merely exchange one set of stressors for another. I’m not one of those people who reminisce about the past with such nostalgia that I resist the present day realities, but I do think we spend too much time in frenetic activity. If you never experience boredom or frustration, you miss the opportunity to channel that boredom into something creative. If every moment is filled with some type of activity or entertainment, you lose the capacity to be still and to be quiet. I don’t think we as parents want to schedule every minute, but sometimes we feel compelled by what others are doing or what we think we “should” do. We are easily controlled by our guilt.
My family is having a quiet summer this year, taking a couple of small trips, going camping, but otherwise just “chillin,” as my son is so fond of saying. I don’t know that he will remember this as the perfect summer. He has complained about being bored a few times. In fact, he complained just a few minutes ago. I smiled, made a few suggestions and turned back to my computer screen. I heard him pacing around the house. I heard him playing with the dog. Then, a few minutes later I heard him rummaging around in the garage. Ah, the joys of summer!