From the moment the warm light of the summer sun streams through the pane of glass in your bedroom window to gently awaken your well-rested eyes and muscles, you know that another vacation day is waiting for you to step in. A full day of earnest living and learning, wrapped in a cloak of friendships and random acts of adventure.
As you brush your teeth, there is no shivering before a heating vent. There is no dress code or hurried schedule to stress your start. Only an open mind wondering what will be found on this warm, sunny, summer day.
Even in morning, the day is warm. The air holds humidity as a precursor to an afternoon spent with blue skies, bright rays, thick green grass, and cool moist earth beneath your toes. Even though every day is the same in its plan, every day holds a different version of the days before. Get dressed. Shorts and T-shirts. Tie your shoes. With or without socks.
Find friends. Play. Explore. Take on missions alone or in groups. Splash. Sing. Swing from limbs. Start a project. Build a fort. Find new skills and feats to conquer.
Cover all mistakes in Band Aids.
Cross streams. Walk creeks. Catch critters. Relax in the shade of trees. Get wet. Get muddy. Ruin a pair or two of sneakers.
Discover new areas and new friends (or cliques of enemies) within the lands of your own neighborhood. Whether by bike or on foot, you become intimately familiar with your territory and some places beyond your borders.
Find a first job. Cut lawns. Do odds and ends. You get to begin to make your own way. Control your own money. For a moment, hold responsibility.
Put your learning and skills to the test in a community of other kids doing the same.
Forts. Pools. Young attraction and romance.
A world expanded from the hibernation of the winter living room and daily schedule to the entirety of outdoors, day and night.
Friends stay over. You stay with friends. You get to adopt parents and your friends get to adopt yours.
The Season of Empowerment
Empowerment as a nation of children across the land. Whatever your age. Whatever your level. Collect bugs in jars, or first kisses, or sunburns at the pool. Everything is in perfect form.
Independence in its grandest incarnation. Figure out the world on your own terms.
Questions’ answers are discovered before the questions are asked. What is freedom? What does summer freedom look like on older kids? How old do I need to be to own summer nights? What can I do when the world begins at my doorstep, each and every long summer day? How long is all summer long?
You learn so very much in school. But, thank goodness for all you learn in summer.
Bryan Carter is an author, business owner, father, and husband. He lives in Ridgeland, Mississippi with his wife Shelley and two beloved children, Jack and Emma.