The great summer of 2012

sweet corn
summer time meant sweet corn

While our summer solstice is still three weeks away, I’d like to begin writing with a “summer spirit” today, June 1. Remember summers as kids? Fairly carefree. Innocent, at least until adolescence. No school. No homework. Sleeping in. Often boring. Nothing to do.

Yeah, the good old days….

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By jeff noel

Retired Disney Institute Keynote Speaker and Prolific Blogger. Five daily, differently-themed personal blogs (about life's 5 big choices) on five interconnected sites.


  1. Over dinner last night I assigned the summer homework. For one it’s clarinet and Spanish. The other will focus on algebra. We discovered too much unstructured time leaves them irritable. Knowing they have deliverables keeps them on a smoother tack and it helps with school come Fall. Let the good times roll.

  2. Patty, there are many benefits to staying busy.
    My childhood in rural Pennsylvania was mostly unstructured.
    We had to use creativity to stay busy fighting boredom.
    It had pros and cons.
    I often wonder what it would have been like (and if I’d be different today) had it been more structured.
    PS. There are no regrets though. I think the never-ending problem solving was akin to Dinsey’s Phineas and Ferb.

  3. Yes, my summers were unstructured as well. We strive for balance. So they learn how to occupy themselves as well as having deliverables that take no more than an hour per day. But that hour, or less, centers them do they can think of other possibilities and ways to spend their time.

  4. Patty, I love the idea of structured goals balanced with completely unstructured time. And by balanced, meaning more unstructured time than structured – the opposite of the school year workload.

  5. I long for those days of doing nothing. Sometimes when things get totally overwhelming, I fall asleep thinking of those summers when the biggest decision I had to make was if I wanted my eggs fried or scrambled for breakfast (at noon). I’ve promised my grandson that he can spend at least a week at my house doing nothing but floating on a raft and looking at the clouds. I used to do that with my kids, too. No cell phones, no computers, no TV. Total decompression. Jeff, as I told you earlier, my son will be 28 next month and has the hectic life of a first year medical resident. He still says one of the best days of his life was when we filled our pool for the first time, when he was 11, and he spent the rest of his summer just floating and doing cannonballs.

  6. Lorie, thank you for chiming in. Got home from Iowa yesterday, picked up Chapin at school on the way from the airport, hit Twistee Treat for ice cream like we do every Friday (and Monday), and then raced to our back porch to see if the pool had finished filling with water – the hose was turned on at 2pm the day before….

    Still about a foot to go.

    Chapin and I were marveling in our dream to have something other than a blow-up pool becoming a reality. And then, I shouted “cannonball” and jumped in, fully-clothed.

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