Summer time: school’s out, the kids are home. It’s time to travel, take vacation, hit the beach or swimming pool, and see a few ball games. Iced tea and lemonade tastes better when served 1 degree above frozen. The air-conditioned dimness of a bowling ally soothes you on a glaring 95-degree day. Barbeque smoke drifts around the neighborhood on the evening breeze, and fire works blossom in the darkness from late June thru Mid-July. We each have different visions of what “summer time” based on how, where, and when we were raised. But for everyone I know, there’s something about summer that says let’s have a great time by relaxing and doing something different.
Summer slows us down and gives us more time to connect. Rather than seeing kids dashing around in the morning getting ready to head out for the bus, I watch as they leisurely meander in still wearing the same pair of old shorts and a t-shirt from the night before. Even PJs get a break when you stay up late watching a movie because there’s nowhere you need to rush off to the next day.
Summer is a great time to learn a new skill or hobby. One of my twin sons is trying to grow squash from seedlings he received as a parting gift from school. It hasn’t died yet and a few flowers are opening up to welcome any passing bees.
In early June, I finally finished teaching this same son to ride his bike. The last time we tried, he fell off, got scraped up pretty badly, and has been reluctant to try it again since. This time, it took less than 5 minutes before he was sailing along effortlessly as I ran alongside to keep up. I was glad to see him easily get the hang of it, and he quickly left me behind as the sheer joy of speed overcame any last doubts about crashing.
July is a great month to remember our nation’s birth. This year I gave my boys an assignment to read the Declaration of Independence, and each of them had to pick out several words or phrases that didn’t make sense so we could talk about them. It did me some good to brush up on it as well. One of my best teachers always said, “You’ll never understanding anything as well as when you try to teach it to someone else.” True enough.
August’s dog-days are just around the corner. We’ll beat the heat indoors playing games together. My daughter’s recent favorite is Twister. Part of being a Good Dad has been staying limber enough to keep up with this game. I try to set a good example and can’t whine too much when my ankle ends up beside my head because all the easy-to-reach red dots are taken.
Being a Good Dad is a lot of work, and one of the greatest rewards of the job that I’ve found is spending more time with my family, my kids in particular. I don’t have any profound or secret advice to my fellow Good Dads other than to remember that Summer is the season for kids to be kids, and I’m blessed that there are plenty of excuses for me to join in the fun.