What happened to those days? I remember my older relatives working in their gardens at their own pace, doing their chores early, having picnics, and sitting on the porch swing in the evening with a friend or relative. This is a way of life that we have forgotten.
Our lives are so busy today that even when we are trying to have summer fun, we work very hard at it and we spend a lot of money. Husbands and wives work two jobs to earn that money, and then they have to build up vacation days to go on the big trip. Our children don’t know how to entertain themselves. They may not even go outdoors much if they have a gaming system or an IPad. It should come as no surprise to anyone that parents are buying these electronics for very young children. Now we are so busy that we grab fast food instead of cooking something nourishing. Big vacations, lots of technology, summer camps, summer academic classes, stuff, stuff, and more stuff (we have to have a great wardrobe for our vacation!) – we have it all, but we have lost something in the transition.
My mother’s summers were much more low-key. Mom loved riding on her big draft horse, Tom. Swimming was not at a pool with an exclusive membership. Creeks, ponds and lakes were treats instead. If there were grape vines to swing out over the lake that was a bonus. The family’s food was homeade and delicious. My grandmother was an amazing cook! The family lived on mostly what they grew or animals that they raised themselves. Now we call that “organic”. There were books to read on the front porch while munching on an apple or drinking a homemade glass of lemonade. A tire swing was entertaining. There were chores, too. Mom participated in gardening, canning, quilting, and getting eggs from the hen house. On special occasions, Mom might have a friend spend the night from her small country school.
It might be a good for us to simplify our lives in the summer. Take a break from your computer, your TV, your phone (other than calling others), even your Kindle. Play board games together. Try reading a real book that has pages that smell good and have beautiful illustrations. Put up a hammock or a swing on the porch, and actually use it at the end of the day. Get up early to sit outside and enjoy the coolness of the morning and the sounds of the birds. Give your kids jars and let them catch fireflies. Build a fire in your fire pit and make s’mores. Make homeade ice cream. Have a picnic with delicious foods and a quilt spread out on the grass. Show your kids how fun it is to roll down a long steep hill. Lie on your back and look at the stars at night. Maybe gather some basic camping equipment and delve in the world of campgrounds.
Whatever you choose to eliminate from your schedule, take time to relax and to be together as a family. That is the way to make family memories that your children will still talk about when they are adults.