Summer is Here Again...
Is it just me, or are summers different from when I was a child? I remember waking up, eating breakfast, doing my chores, and then being outside for the better half of the day playing with the kids on the block. Only going into the house to eat lunch and go to the bathroom. And I didn’t want to make too many bathroom trips into the house, because the real threat of being told to stay in the house for coming in and out was always looming. However kids are different now. My son is kind of getting into the habit of liking to play outside, but my daughter would rather endure chores before the cruel and harsh punishment of sun and fresh air.
This makes summer vacations hard on us, the parental units, to be sure. We don’t seem to be the only parents suffering from this dilemma. When I first moved into my current neighborhood I found it peculiar that there was a lack of children playing outside from the rave reviews the school that was only minutes away from my house had gotten. But the first day of school was even more shocking when I realized my neighborhood was filled to the brim with kids; they just never came outside unless they were leaving or coming back from school.
I guess they were all in different afterschool and extracurricular activities. So I did the same, placing my kids into activities of their own. My daughter was in choir at her school and my son was in a program that let children try their hand in many different sports to see what their niche could be. Needless to say neither latched on to anything other than liking to stay home underneath their parents.
I’m not giving up, next school year my daughter is going into the drama club and orchestra and my son is joining the chess club. However that leaves a whole summer's worth of “something” I need to come up with. I almost forced my daughter to go to camp this year, but her pleas of noncompliance to the idea finally won over. My son has been accepted in a program for science enriched fun that covers a month of his time out. But for the most part I will be their main source of entertainment, again. Everyone keeps telling me that I’m going to look back and miss these times, and I’m sure I will, but for now I’m pooped just thinking about it.
I’ve talked with friends and they are trying to figure out a plan for the summer as well. Camp was on most of their agendas, but as I said earlier, that’s a no go for my brood.
What we should be asking ourselves is what has changed? Is it our children or is it us as parents?
If I had to make an educated guess I would have to say both equally. When we were kids we didn’t have as many fun options for electronic games and devices that kept us in tune with our friends while having lazy fun in the comfort of our homes.
If we wanted to commune with our friend we had to go and find them. Most parents didn’t want a crap-ton of kids in their home eating all the snacks so outside we were placed. Gaming systems with headphones and online mass player options, cellphones, iPads, etc. make it possible to have a crap ton of kids digitally in our home without the loss of food and house cleanliness.
Yes, we can just say that kids are just lazier than we were and that they are for sure. But we deserve some of the blame as well. Parents in earlier generations used to let their kids explore and grow into their own more on their own. What I mean by that is that I remember being blocks away from my home riding my bike and just exploring. Which was fine just as long as I got back home before check-in time passed. However, nowadays we as parents are too scared to let our kids out of our sights for even a minute, let alone a whole hour. Yes, we have really good reason for feeling this way with the world being a scary as it is, but there are pros and cons to everything. So in a big way we contribute to their lazy nature.
Or we have the parents that run themselves ragged so they are always there in the background to make sure their children are safe and active, preferably in activities that may garner an acceptance letter from a big name college one day. I teeter back and forth from both of these options. Which is a plan, but not a perfected one, yet. I’m still working it out.
I want to leave this particular blog on a positive note for all my fellow parents out there. There are some perks to summer our kids' vacay, like no homework or projects due and sleeping in and I know every parent can agree that they enjoy the extra time in their morning to putt around instead of rushing, making sure the kids are ready to go. Coffee tastes just a little more divine with the proper time to savor it. Happy coffee time and Thursday everyone! ... And good luck!