AT RANDOM: Those lazy days of summer

For those of you out there who have kids, summer may have started a little early due to the teachers’ strike.

I use the word may, but the chances of school starting again before June 26 look as promising as a hail storm in June... Wait a second, make that a maelstrom in Kal Lake, well you get the idea.

With the likelihood the government and the B.C. Teachers’ Federation cannot come to an agreement this week, we are all prematurely scrambling for ways to care for and/or entertain our kids.

As my husband has been working graveyards, and I am here at the office during the day writing such articles as this titillating column, I’m sad to say my son and daughter have been left to their own devices a little. And I’m realizing that to make them independent human beings that’s OK.

Except the problem is that their idea of being independent is plunking themselves in front of the TV, and/or computer, for more than the standard one hour a day, so that my husband can get a few hours of semi-sleep.... until our son bursts his REM bubble to tell him how many points he has scored on Animal Jam.

It is not the ideal babysitter, but the kids are actually getting care (don’t send child services on us just yet) thanks to their grandmother, and once the Melatonin wears off, they get fresh air, with a bike ride to the park or to kick the soccer ball around with their dad until I take over the evening/night shift.

Both my kids are entered in the Kids of Steel triathlon at Kin Beach Saturday morning, so it’s important to keep them limber.

All this impromptu summer planning has me thinking of what kind of activities myself, a product of the ‘70s and ‘80s, got up to when the days became longer and school finally closed its doors for summer. Mostly, our parents kicked us out of the house in the morning and said, “don’t come back til the sun sets!” But there were also lots of activities: mainly camping, swimming, paddling, and that bastion of fun that combines all three, summer camp.

It was rather exhausting actually.

In fact, when I turned 14, my first summer job was as a counsellor for a YMCA day camp in a Toronto park. That job lasted practically the whole summer, until myself and another counsellor came up with what we thought was a brilliant idea.

As I lived close to the park, we decided to take the kids on a “field trip.” We marched to my place a few blocks away and gave the kids lemonade and let them watch a cartoon on the TV, then we marched right back to the park before anyone even missed us.

We were fired two days before camp ended once our supervisors found out about it. What’s funny is that some parents actually commended us for doing something different with their kids. But with the rules being that no children were to be taken out of the park, we lost our jobs.

Yep, different times indeed. We would probably be arrested now.

What’s even more ironic is that after making such a grave mistake, I was actually hired by the same organization the following year for my next summer job... as a lifeguard!

I spent the whole year getting my Bronze Cross and then my NLS (National Lifeguard Service) certification as well as courses in first aid and CPR, so at least I learned something about safety.

That summer job led into many years of siting on my backside keeping swimmers safe (yes, I did get off said backside to conduct a few rescues and to yell at people goofing off) and I also received my instructor’s certification and became a swimming teacher.

It’s amazing what a lazy summer can lead into. So before you drive your kids into every, single activity for their early introduction into summer, maybe let them sit back and rest for a while. They’ve had a long, hard year, after all.

And to you parents, especially to those teachers who are parents with kids in public school, I know you’d love it if summer holidays end in September like they’re supposed to.

You need a break as well.


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