The Family Forum: The Summer Non-Extravaganza!
Summer is a time for swimming pools, fun and popsicles…unless you have a young teenager who seems to be allergic to sunlight, people and anything that is not electronic. After a long discussion with my husband, we decided this summer to cut back on the electronics. We got tired of this “zombie boy” walking around our house.
He’d once been a fun kid full of imagination. He’d been a boy that loved to go outside and play on the swingset or play with his dog. Our son was still hiding in there with the zombie somewhere; we just knew it!
Our son has a good imagination; it was time to use it. Thus began our summer non-extravaganza, a throwback to the summers of old, when you came home when the street lights came on, you stayed outside all day, and a phone was something that hung on the wall. “Don’t try to ‘fix’ the child’s boredom — rather, let the child find his or her inner resources.” –Julia Cameron Of course, we were given eye rolls and slumped shoulders when we told him our grand plans for a fun summer that didn’t contain video games 24 hours of the day. He then whined about how bored he would be all summer, and went slinking into his bedroom, no doubt to text his friends about how his parents were totally ruining his summer. Summer began with me explaining to my son that I wasn’t the entertainment director for his summer; he was going to have to come up with his own fun. Of course, there would be days where we would have some planned fun, but for the most part, it was up to him to find something to do (or not).
For the first week, he lazed around doing absolutely nothing but watching television and eating unhealthy snacks…while in pajamas.
As the month of June blazed on, he ventured outside and spent time with our dog. They went on walks and he gave her baths, brushed her, and gave her much needed attention.
Before long, he started going swimming with friends, riding his bike to their houses, playing games outside, and goofing around in the garage. When he stayed inside, he would ask me to play board games, play card games, and he even learned to play chess. He even made a blanket tent that still remains intact. He perfected yo-yo tricks and learned how to solve the Rubik’s Cube. I also taught him how to cook a few dishes and we took some online drawing classes together. We had our trips to the water park, movie theater and the beach, BUT they weren’t planned. He never expected any of it, which made those fun outings even better. I hope when he gets older and looks back at his summers, this one will stand out in his mind. It was great to see him look away from that small screen and enjoy the world around him. Honestly, I even had a better summer. It taught this old dog to look up occasionally from the computer screen myself, and enjoy the sunshine and beautiful Mississippi days. I hope you and your family had a great summer together and that the 2017-2018 school year is great as well!
By Melissa Carrigee