Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Enjoying the Summer Break from School?

Originally Posted on the Common Threads Blog
Centre Daily Times, July 7, 2008

It has been more than two weeks since local schools were let off for summer vacations.

The joy evident on most faces, as the kids rushed out on their last day, at my daughter’s elementary school, had a primal quality to it. A joy of rushing into a world of imagined possibilities, a world without the predictable rhythm of school.

I did see a few tears, and also heard a fifth grader tell another that vacations were nothing to cheer about, because there were still seven more years of this thing to go through!

But mostly I saw a unifying atmosphere of happiness, of being let out into something more wonderful than what they were going through.

Fast forward to more than two weeks later, and the pictures vary from family to family.

Some kids are in structured programs, others are not. Some are looking for things to do, while others occupy themselves in different ways. Some are out of town, and others have family and friends visiting.

Some are already bored with their summer break, and others want it to stretch forever…

At my home, the highlights of my ten year old daughter’s summer break so far have been a two day camp she went to, summer band and orchestra, and the house guests we have had – friends and family who have come to stay in the last several days.

She is also looking forward to some future trips, play dates, going to the pool and so on.

She is still cherishing every day of summer break, but I know that there will be the inevitable occasional letdowns of boredom, and the disappointments when real life does not match up with the expectations that summer vacations held when school let out.

Perhaps that is a hidden value of summer vacations – they teach and remind both kids and parents that even much anticipated change is not all good or bad. That everything, even something as “wonderful” as a break from school has its pluses and minuses. And that very often, the changes we seek could end up bringing us a mixed bag of results.

And it is possible that by September, we may get to hear a primal cheer, though perhaps slightly muted, for another new beginning – of all the imagined possibilities of a new school year.

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