A long, hot summer
When I was growing up in Eastern Tennessee, summer was an endless stretch of nothingness. There were no reading lists or science camps or enrichment activities. There was only occasionally adult supervision.
My friends and I were like a pack of wild dogs tearing through the neighborhood, entertaining ourselves by running through the neighbor’s sprinkler or hanging upside-down from a tree or riding bikes until somebody broke something, usually a bone. We watched Phil Donahue and sucked on homemade popsicles and plucked fat, juicy ticks off our dog and squashed them with bricks. I know, disgusting. Boredom makes you do strange things, but that’s my point. We were bored to death.
Fast-forward to 2013. My kids’ summers have already been planned and paid for, and it’s only March. Their summer will span multiple continents and garner them more than 20,000 Delta points. They will bike through Dutch fields and camp in the Appalachians and swim in the Atlantic. My daughter will spend a month at camp — a month! She will have exactly three days at home.
Of course they won’t be bored. They won’t have time to be.
Summer sure has changed, but I’m not convinced it’s for the better. Sure, my kids get to travel to faraway, exotic places, but beyond that, am I doing them any favors? Will my children ever learn to entertain themselves without an AmEx and a passport? To find joy in a field of wild berries, or fun in a moss-filled creek? I sure hope so.
Remember when the first day of school was something to look forward to?