The ancient law decrees every student must write about “My summer plans” along with the required follow-up “What I did this summer.” I clearly remember drawing myself on a tree-shaded grassy knoll by the swimming hole in our woods with book in hand. I was going to READ. I don’t think I ever read in that spot but the dream is still delicious.
But did I have lazy days in summer? There were ever-present dairy barn chores, garden weeks to tackle, 4-H sewing and baking projects, hanging clothes on the line, ironing, calves to break to halter for the 4-H fair, lawn to mow, a week of summer camp. While I didn’t have school work, I did have home work. But it wasn’t all work; we had puppies and kittens to play with, horses to ride, ponies to pull the cart to the woods for a picnic and a swim. We spent the day at Indiana Dunes State Park at least once each summer and occasionally went to a museum in Chicago. And I did read.
The pace of life was much slower and I mourn for our children today. Their lives are highly regimented (doing good things). They must experience constant stimulation via technology. Even 8-year-olds worry that friends are having more fun than they or have found a better friend. It is reality for too many children but it isn’t their fault. We adults have let it happen.
Summer is a marvelous time to set them up for success. The future of our world depends on our children and young adults for they are the ones who will solve problems and improve our world. We adults must teach them to relax, play, daydream. Those activities are the beginning tools of problem solving.
Try these. UNPLUG! Being glued to a screen is a magnificent way to kill imagination and creativity. Start with a one hour break. GET OUTSIDE! Climb a tree, hide under a bush, take a walk. READ OFTEN! Reread favorites, listen to stories, enjoy comics and graphic novels, take advantage of free programs at the No. 1 library in Wisconsin. JOIN THEM! It does a body good. Model how being with family and friends makes you richer. TIME! Let them become bored. Help them create and explore new adventures.
I can’t wait to read your exciting “What I Did This Summer” story in September! Want to hear mine?
Grandma is Rebecca Kordatzky. She is a wife, mother of three and grandmother. A retired educator, she’s taught all levels and trained teachers. As an educational coach/tutor and at the Milton Area Youth Center, she aims to educate, encourage and inspire.