Thursday, May 31, 2012

The Lazy Days of Summer...Or Are They?

I know I said I was going to write all about unemployment this week.  And yes, we are still there.  But there is something else on my mind.

The lazy days of summer.

Or are they?

I have fond memories of summer.

Playing in the sprinkler.  Riding my bike.  Playing with neighbors.  Playing school.  Visiting family.  Going to the library to check out piles of books.  Chasing fireflies.  Eating popsicles.  Fishing with my grandfather on the lake.  Jumping on the trampoline. 

I maybe attended VBS and an occasional day camp (then church camp and cheerleading camp later in my teen years).

They were truly the lazy days of summer.

I am not so sure many kids can say that these days.

I LOVE Pinterest (which you may know if you read the cooking blog).  But one trend that has bothered me is the multiple "pinnings" of sites with lists of activities to do with your kids in the summer to keep them busy.  One local kid publication is filled with camps...if I had enough money, I could send my kids to camps all summer long (I wouldn't, but I could).  Yesterday I listened to a lady detailing her summer.  One child is in gymnastics several days a week, while another is on a traveling baseball team.  The baseball team has ONE off week this summer. Even my kids have been known to come in and say, "So what are we doing today?"  (I just laugh because they obviously forget from summer to summer who I am :)

I am not saying activities are bad.  Or camps are bad.  Some of my kids will attend one or two.

What I am saying is that free time is NOT all bad.

In fact, it might be good.

By the way, I don't count free time curled up in front of the tv all day.

Sometimes kids need to have free time.  Whether they know it or not.

I know I do.

And when they do, they might surprise you.

The kids might turn out to be creative.  They might have imagination. They might actually play with some of that stuff that clutters their rooms.  They might find ways to fill their time, ways you wouldn't imagine.

Which is why I try to keep my summers as lazy as possible other than an occasional camp.  Or our summer vacation (which is actually very laid-back too).

Just this week, we have had tents made out of blankets.  Fashion shows.  Talent shows.  Singing. Swimming in my parents' pool.  Playing with cousins.  Coloring.  Listening to books on CD.  Reading.  Playing with the dog.  Exercising with me.  Playing with toys in the toyroom, toys that are ignored the rest of the year due to the busyness of school. Arts and crafts.

Yes, it can be a pain sometimes.  They make messes. They tattle.  They argue. They complain they are bored (at least until I offer them chores to do :).

But I still believe, deep in my heart, there is value in having free time.

They learn to entertain themselves.  They learn to work together to accomplish things. They create and plan.  They slow down.  They rest.  They recharge.  And they have fun.

And so do I.

And that is why I love the lazy days of summer.


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