I got a new calling at church a couple of weeks ago, and last week was my first week. I’m the primary chorister, although I tend to think “song leader” is a bit more appropriate of a title. I’ve never done music in primary before, and it scares the heck out of me. Getting ready for Sunday felt like my Elementary Music Methods class at University of Idaho. Basically, I was trying to come up with a lesson plan to teach a new song that all the kids would enjoy and would be able to learn from. All the kids means all 120 of them!!! Argh!! scary.
This Sunday, in addition to learning the song, I want to do a fun activity for the 20 to 30 minutes I have in Singing Time. When I was a kid in primary we would sing “Oh, What Do You Do in the Summertime?” and I just loved that song. The summer my parents separated my mom took the three of us kids with her to live with her dad and stepmom in Kelowna. My grandpa’s house was this huge place, on top of a mountain (or so it seemed to 6 year old me) that over looked the Okanagan lake. That summer (and the summer I was 10 and got to visit my grandpa all by myself while my mom and stepdad were on their honeymoon) had many afternoons of sitting. looking over the lake, hoping to catch a glimpse of Ogopogo. I swear I even saw him when I was 10, and I stick to my story today.
I still remember going to primary that summer when I was 6 and during Singing Time getting to sing the Summertime song. Then the leader asked all of us children what WE liked to do in the summer, and she replaced the regular lyrics with what we said. One kid even said he liked to look for Ogopogo in the summer.
(I’m going to steal the idea and do this activity with the kids this Sunday.)
I was thinking today of the different things I used to do as a kid during the summer. Once school got out, it seemed like summer was the best time of life. In California we rode bikes all over town. We climbed trees. We’d play soccer in the backyard and baseball in the street. We’d go to Thrifty and get ice cream cones for 25 cents. We would walk to Grandma’s house to play cards and to go swimming. In Maine we’d walk to the local swimming pool, or my best friend would take me with her to the lake with her parents. In Wyoming we’d go to the Frontier Days parades and pancake breakfasts and carnival. In Norway we went camping and sightseeing and once went fishing in the fjords. In Arkansas we’d walk to the park and meet up with friends. In New Hampshire we would walk across the street and down the path to the beach. In Indiana we would walk to the library, the park, friend’s houses, downtown. We’d play in sprinklers, on the slip-n-slide, or just use the hose to drink from. No matter where we lived, our summer activities were basically the same, and they were always spent outside for the majority of the time.
My kids stay in the house and watch movies or play on the computer. We go swimming almost every day, but almost no time is spent just outside, running around. We have this huge, grassy, common area right in front of our house, and some evenings the kids go outside to see if any of the neighbor kids are out. It’s pretty rare, though. We have a playground practically across the street, but we’ve only been 3 or 4 times since we’ve moved in. My kids don’t own bikes, and they don’t know how to climb a tree. They don’t get to walk to the closest grocery store or convenience store for ice cream treats. We haven’t been camping since Aiden was Parker’s age, and we just don’t have the money to travel to see relatives like I did when I was a kid.
What is wrong with their summers??? Summer was supposed to be the most enjoyable time of the year for kids! What happened?
Oh, yeah. We live in the desert of Arizona. It’s frickin’ hot out, and we can’t stand to be outside for more than 30 seconds. I took Dallin to the doctor today, and from the second he got out of the van, he started complaining of how hot he was. Don’t start with all the “Oh, but it’s a dry heat!” business, because i have to tell you, 115 is hot, not matter how humid or how dry. Yes, it’s beautiful here in January, and we spend a lot more time outside here during the winter. However, it’s just not summer. Winter time is full of school activities. You don’t get that freedom that comes with summer.
School starts in just two weeks, and I have to say I’m really happy. Aiden will finally have something to do. He will make friends, and in just another 2 or 3 months it’ll cool off enough for the kids to go out and play after school. And maybe we can see about getting some bikes. I feel bad that my kids don’t get the awesome summers of freedom that I had as a kid. I know there are tons of things we could be doing that doesn’t involve melting in the heat, but again. Summer is supposed to mean outdoor freedom, not structured trips to indoor, air-conditioned places. I’m going to mourn this for a while, I think.