Friday, August 26, 2016

Summertime, And The Living Is...

I remember TV game shows and sitcom reruns. I remember board game marathons and walking to 7-11 for candy. I remember sitting by the radio for the daily trivia quiz and dialing over and over to be the right-numbered caller. I remember those corn holders with the spikes that could seriously wound you if you missed the corn. I remember staying up late and sleeping late. I remember trips to the library, but summer reading at the last minute. And somehow, I turned out okay. Somehow, with many hours of TV and no daily refreshment on math, I survived. Somehow, with hundreds of unscheduled hours and no scheduled bedtime, I survived. Somehow, despite appropriately kid-like procrastination and appropriately kid-like belief that I could win the contest every day, I survived. I wandered through any number of childhood summers, and I survived.

Perhaps the stakes are higher now. Perhaps my kids face greater competition for the good opportunities and many more screens calling for their attention. Perhaps they are less easily entertained and more easily distracted. But I can't help but wonder, as we drift toward the end of our least planned summer in years, whether unplanned is exactly what they needed. I can't help but long for those summer days of my childhood, when doing what I wanted was perfectly ok, and when summer education was beating the quiz show contestant to the answer or dialing a phone just fast enough to win a contest. Forgive me if I'm not diligently enough preparing for September--we're busy enjoying the break. Forgive me if my school year pushing and prodding is on a delay--I'm busy seeing what choices my kids will make when no one is telling them they have to. Forgive me if I'm not counting and controlling screen hours--those hours are no more than those I spent watching every episode of The Brady Bunch and The Partridge Family, multiple times--and practically every game show that filled the morning.

Enough of now seeps through, as I talk about getting online math done, and about showing up on School Day One prepared, really prepared, to approach the year, about accomplishing things daily, about getting back to a regular bedtime. But each day, for at least a moment, I remind myself that I turned out just fine. And in that moment, I'd like to think my kids will too.

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