Stangl

I find it very hard to believe that June is half over. Summer is slipping along at a brisk pace, like it or not.

We had our 10-year-old granddaughter Persephone stay with us this past week. Sephie, as we call her, enjoyed her stay. She stayed up until after nine and got to sleep in until after seven several mornings. She and her grandmother did several craft projects, baked some very good monster cookies, played with our three cats and two dogs and binge watched a season of “The British Baking Show” on Netflix.

It was a great start to summer for her. We had a good time as well.

She was fresh out of school for the year and had a week off before her “vacation” began. I use quotations around the word vacation because Sephie has a brief respite before her regimented summer routine begins.

Summer school, girl scout camp, daycare and a family vacation are all on tap for her. She will have to be at a certain place at a certain time for weeks on end.

Don’t get me wrong, I understand that our lives are tightly scheduled in the 21st century. Nor is this a criticism on the parenting choices of my daughter and her husband, this is simply how things are done now.

But, like every parent and grandparent before me, there are things from my childhood that I want my children and grandchildren to be able to experience. Being lazy in the summer, in moderation, is one of these things.

From the age of 10 until shortly before I turned 18, I had a paper route. I got up at 6:00 a.m., rode my bike to the post office where the bundles of papers had been dropped off, delivered the papers and went back to bed before 7:00. I did this six days a week. On Sundays, my father helped deliver the route and drove his car.

In the summer, I went back to bed and slept as late as 10:00, or until my mother felt I had slept long enough. My mother was as subtle as a brick. She would come upstairs and raise the blind, moving with heavy steps the whole time. I heard many admonishments about how I was sleeping away the best part of the day.

But here’s the deal: I think it’s important for kids to be able to unplug and decompress from everything. The school year is intense, especially if you are having trouble with a subject or are involved in too many activities. Being lazy, in small doses, never killed anyone.

I read lots of books, rode my bike all over town, went swimming, played board games and cards and hung out with my friends during the summer.

I understand that children need to be constantly learning and that “brain drain,” forgetting some of what you have learned, is a real thing, but I think we are losing track of something equally important – being a kid.

I hope that children can be kids, at least for part of the summer. Childhood, like summer, is fleeting and in the end, it is the memories of being a kid that we all go back to for the rest of our lives.

Make sure your summer has some memories.

As always, I welcome your comments. You can reach me by email at tstangl@theameryfreepress.com, telephone 715-268-8101 or write me at P.O. Box 424, Amery, WI, 54001.

Thanks for reading; I’ll keep in touch. Feel free to do the same.