Thursday, May 31, 2012

Back to the Lazy Days of Summer

There is almost something commanding that the days of summer be "lazy" and "carefree."

Maybe it is a harkening back to the childhood days of old when from Memorial Day to Labor Day the only thing a kid had to do was decide which game to play, which pool to walk to, how many bike races, and if their mom would give them 25-cents for the ice cream truck.

The times has changed, some, maybe too much,  but perhaps something this almost-decade-long recession has given back is the lazy days of summer for the youth.

It seemed a mere couple years ago when Gen X parents were running around with their File-o-fax or Franklin Planners deciding how many more activities and learning opportunities they could cram into the twelve weeks of summer.  Every breathing moment had to be involved in something meaningful that would give their child just one more leg up over the competition for entrance into exclusive preschools, elementary schools, high schools, and colleges.

Then it all changed.

2007 came crashing down on summer dreams like the stock market and the dot com bust dashing of dreams and incomes.  Now, five years later and a stubborn business-driven-recession that has eaten away incomes and financial opportunities, the lazy days of summer are back.  Parents no longer have hundreds of dollars to fill up every space of the calendar.  There are more moms (and dads) at home (some reluctantly) and more neighborhood pick-up-games, ice cream truck begging (although now that 25-cents is $2), and time for kids to be a kid.

The summer of 2012 could prove to be a chance for renewal and recapture of what it means to be a kid.  Sure, there will be summer reading, kids have to stay up on their skills for the fall, and maybe a camp or two, but not more of that planning away their childhood, we've discovered there isn't a need to hurry up and grow up.

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