This is the first time I am fully experiencing summer in the United States. That steady slowdown until schools closed was reminiscent of my lifetime of summers in the Southern Hemisphere.
Summer is for childhood. Long days to plan games without end, barefoot climbing, soft T-shirts and turn-up shorts, blankets laid in deep shade upon which dreams of nothing and everything are formed. Family trips to the beach, digging holes to China, ice cream, sunburns and soothing aloe lotion. Staying up way beyond your bedtime and finally drifting to sleep between cool sheets, the quiet content of mom and dad in the background. Summer … that idyllic time of childhood.
And so it should be.
Childhood is when we are protected – from ourselves and from the bad things that go on in this world. We adults know that the world continues being wicked and cruel and terrible evils don’t stop for summer. War, hate, famine. We know all too well that these continue.
Yet, summer is for childhood and for savoring parenthood. For making memories for children and for protecting them for as long as we can from noticing that the world does not stop when school is out.
Summer is for helping them notice fat bees and pollen and floating clouds and the neighbor’s funny dog. It’s for chasing cats up trees and riding bikes and visiting with grandparents.
Parents, please savor this time. Be intentional. Make memories. For us who live in the the world of adults, we know that childhood ends all too quickly and reality is about shootings in Orlando and hating needlessly.
But, we don’t burden our children with this yet. Their time will come. In the meantime, we protect them and we cover over the truths by redirecting them to the joys of this world. Joys that summer brings in basket loads. Peaches and watermelon and juice dripping down chins that will forever remind them of the taste of a season that is warm and soft and full of glorious potential.
Fill that potential for your children. Make this summer multitudes of moments that will forever be remembered. A summer where backyards become pirate ships and that blanket under the tree becomes a secret passage to the moon.
Turn off the technology and, this summer, turn on the magic. For childhood is but fleeting and summer does come to an end and yes, the world is crazy. Until then, give your child the harvest of this season: Love that covers a multitude of sins.
“I know that there is nothing better for people than to be happy and to do good while they live. That each of them may eat and drink, and find satisfaction in all their toil—this is the gift of God.” Ecclesiastes 3:12-13