Jun 30, 2011 02:25PM
By Ana Rincon
My brother and I spent most of our childhood summers with my grandparents in West Virginia. We had no day camp, club sports, summer enrichment classes, or even organized play dates. We simply skipped up the alley and knocked on back doors until the “Market Street Gang” was assembled, and then found our own adventures. In just one summer, the gang turned our porch into a spaceship, opened a detective agency in the garage, and served neighbors from our front yard café (no simple lemonade stand for us). Parents were involved in the summer, too, punctuating our adventures with trips to the library, ice cream store, and farm stand. But mostly, they left us to our own imaginings.
I contrast this with the way my own children were raised—their summer days full of sports, day camp activities, and reading lists—and wonder which is best. It’s not that clear. Their father is a day camp director, who has made structured summer activity into an art. My children and their campmates have their own unique and wonderful memories of summer: color wars, zip lines, arts & crafts, the camp show, counselors, and camp friends. They were exposed to people and activities they might not otherwise have known, and were able to challenge themselves in a safe environment. My conclusion? Summer is a time of wonder, discovery, and fun, for kids of all ages, no matter how you slice it.
This issue explores the topic in “The Beauty of Summer Boredom: Recapturing the Golden Days of Childhood.” The author cites several authorities who claim boredom is a gift, and one that allows our children to develop their own inner resources. I’d love to hear your thoughts on it.
We look at other summer pleasures in Berry Good, which features a delicious recipe for Blackberry Mint iced tea. Local farmers markets are now open, so don’t miss the opportunity to make some new dishes with fresh-from-the field ingredients. Finally, Stay Cool offers natural remedies to ease sunburn, poison ivy, and bug bites as well as ways to save on air conditioning bills, so you can enjoy this happiest of seasons to the fullest.