Between a rock and a hard place
No doubt most of the younger set are looking for some down time while at least a few of the parents see a potential wasteland of couch potatoes, video game controllers in hand, lying among the crumpled potato chip bags. Didn't we mean to sign them up for some camps? Didn't we mean for them to get summer jobs?
The economy may be reviving, ever so slowly, but there are still a dearth of jobs out there, especially for the unskilled and inexperienced. Many teens have so many extra curricular activities that getting a job during the school year and perhaps the summer as well has been out of the question. And now all are wishing for meaningful summer activity with at least enough down time worked in to feel as if they've had a summer.
When I was a teen, I spent much of my summer swimming or playing golf or lying on my back in the grass looking at the sky. But for at least one week during the summer, I often had a job, helping out with Vacation Bible School. I supervised little kids and their popsicle-stick projects, babysat in the nursery, read stories to the older children, and played the piano for our daily morning assembly. We sang songs like God of Our Fathers (the piano has a great part on that one - da da da DUM DUM) and America the Beautiful. Looking back, I realize how much we conflated religion and patriotism in those cold war days. At least we did in our church.
The ideal summer has meaningful work, fun, travel, and time for both enjoying relationships and digging into a hobby or skill. There is time to linger, time to slow down and deepen relationships, time to learn a new skill or perfect one. Time to look for meaning and time to be silly and lighthearted. Time to even "waste" just lying on one's back looking at the clouds or watching the waves. Time to read what one wants to read instead of an assignment.
But we are all used to being scheduled now, even though we know that most of us and our children are and have been overscheduled.
What I want to remember is that summer is just different. And to thank God for that.