I wish I could take credit for the catchy title, but I can't. It was the opening line from an excellent blog entry that I read earlier this week. The author also made the following statement, which really caught my attention ...
People, we are failing our children. They might be proficient at history, language arts and calculus to compete in the global marketplace with China, but they are lagging behind every local kid who can kick their butt at watermelon seed spitting, cartwheel contests and completing the world's best belly flop.
Her comment immediately took me back to hot, lazy summer days spent outdoors in the wooded area bordering our property. My brother and I used to hike the hill, climb the trees, and set up "housekeeping" in the tall weeds. My own children enjoyed many summer afternoons running in and out of the sprinkler in our backyard, and reading great books while stretched out in their treehouse. We made yummy, homemade popsicles that you had to eat in a hurry before they melted all over your bare toes.
Sadly, I think the author of the blog post does make a valid observation. Sometimes as parents we get so caught up in scheduling all the great and exciting local activities available for the summer, that we forget to give our children some "time off". Time to run, time to play, time to sit and stare at the clouds, time to read piles of great books .... I've heard so many kids whine "I'm bored", because we've set the expectation that every single moment has to be filled with activity. So plug in the sprinkler, don't holler when they make mud pies, and gauge the "success" of each day by how dirty the bath water is at bedtime.
One of our customers has the idea ... I received this auto-response back when I emailed the other day ...
Thank you for your email. Our family has decided to forgo screen time for the summer in favor of more family time, outdoor play, reading together, and maybe finally getting around to some organizing projects. So, we have no internet connection or TV until the end of August. We may check email occasionally during a trip to the library, but this will be infrequent. So, if you would like a timely reply please pick up the phone and call us.
What are your kids *not* going to do this summer? Sit outdoors with them one day and snap some great photos of their imaginations at work, then feel free to share them on our Facebook page!
Still on the journey,
PS ... If your kids don't have a pile of books to read in their treehouse, be sure to check out our Summer Readers. It's never too late to add some great titles to your library!