The start of summer, when the sun urges us into shorts, t-shirts and bare feet and warm days glide into twilight, marks the start of a season unlike any other. Summer is when parents and children both sense a freedom to be and grow in new ways unencumbered by the conventions of autumn, winter and spring.
What is most powerfully human in this season is the call to Epic Learning. It can’t be denied!
It rises up in each of us to be something different than we were a year ago, to try something new and consider new ways to address old challenges.
We see this in our children (and can remember it in our childhoods) in their determination to climb higher in the tree, swim further in the lake, try their first overnight camp away from home. Correspondingly, we parents must make internal adjustments to our children’s new milestone markers, as our parents did for us. This can mean letting go of our own fears and supporting a new attempt at growth though our instincts might be screaming otherwise!
For families, summer, too, is often a time to come together in shared adventures traveling, visiting, seeing and experiencing new things together. These might be a hike to a waterfall, watching the stars, or a trip that just had a special quality. These adventures will become etched into collective memories that will comprise family lore and carry forward for years, beginning with “Do you remember when … ?!”
Many summer adventures will also form the foundation for much future learning and even set in motion new life directions. For me, I trace my first career in science to summertime opportunities as a young boy to explore and discover the natural world with nothing more than my curiosity and the support and patience of my parents.
Yes that’s me at about age 4 (ca 1962) at a local swamp where I savoured many summer hours thanks to my parents’ indulgence. Assuredly this helped spark my lifelong enthusiasm for biology and my first career in science.
It’s oddly ironic, isn’t it, that so much learning happens for our children in summer at at time when school has been declared “out”.
Parents and astute educators know that so much learning is happening during summer and that it’s only because of a cultural blind spot that this remarkable season of growth is overlooked by educational authorities.
And we know that much of this growth will etch itself into your hearts and form the basis of our initial conversations when we next meet and catch up on our stories.
I look forward to hearing your stories and I wish you much adventuring as your summers begin.