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1837 - Trapper Peter LaBeck killed by grizzly bear at El Tejon [story]


The Good Long Road | Commentary by Jennifer Fischer
| Saturday, Jun 8, 2013

JenniferFischerEvery once in a while during my “ABCs of the SCV” series, I take a break and write about something nagging at me – as was the case when I shared about a Santa Clarita family in need or shared my thoughts about Sandy Hook.

This week, I am doing it again as I notice school is already out for most children in the SCV, and it will be out for practically all of them at the end of next week.

What does the end of the school year mean for you? Are you excited about the extra family time? Or do you know that within a couple of weeks, you will be thinking, When does school start again? – as having children around all the time wears on you?

Perhaps you have already scheduled out the summer and made sure the kids will be busy with camps, activities, playgroups, etc. Or you might have teenagers who have “scheduled” it for themselves, and you are hoping that they just don’t get into too much trouble?

Summer can be tricky. Many parents dread the “I’m bored” declaration from their kids.

jfischer060813dI encourage you to approach summer with a half-glass-full outlook, or with your “optimist” glasses on, so to speak. Resist the urge to overschedule, to think of every single cool thing you can do, and cram it into this one summer (or into that one or two weeks of vacation).

Yes, do cool things, but consider letting those things evolve in a natural, low-key, stress-free way. Today I discovered the amount of entertainment a 3.5-year-old can garner from a bucket filled with water, and Saturday we went to Santa Monica Pier because my husband had some work business there anyway. We tagged along and enjoyed the beach. Keep it simple.

Savor the longer days and the extra time to spend in the presence of your loved ones. I see far too often the words of people whose time with their loved ones has been cut short. I see frazzled and stressed parents (and kids) shuttling from one experience to another, only to realize they cannot really appreciate or enjoy any of it.

Summer can provide us with opportunities to reconnect as families, finally to have those friends over for dinner, to make pancakes for breakfast on a Tuesday, to take that simple day trip to the beach, to pitch the tent and camp out in our own backyards, to stop and smell the proverbial roses – or the actual lavender, which we have in full bloom in our yard.

I have been seeing summer bucket lists all over the Internet, and they stress me out. I know that for some families, it is perfect – a list of fun activities to do together during the summer – but for me, the thought of making a “to-do” list for my summer just doesn’t feel right.

jfischer060813cI am kicking the summer bucket list and, instead, making a summer DON’T list:

• Don’t check Facebook-Twitter-Pinterest incessantly.

• Don’t let work or business concerns overshadow everything else.

• Don’t schedule anything (OK, maybe “anything” is harsh, but limited scheduling is certainly in order).

• Don’t check the laptop while engaged in a family activity. (Substitute “smart phone” for “laptop” if you have one, which I don’t.)

• Don’t over-plan (or maybe don’t make plans at all).

• If you do make plans, don’t stress if those plans change.

• Don’t sweat the small stuff. (Just sweat because it’s 104 outside, but the kids don’t care and still want to play in the sandbox.)

• Oh, and don’t forget the sunscreen and water.

In short, summer is here. Slow down and chill out. Throw some num-nums, as my kids would say, on the grill, drink your favorite cold beverage, let the kids run around in the backyard, and stay up a little late and take it all in. After all, it’s summertime and the livin’ is easy.

P.S. I should have shared an “R is for Reading” post this week. Since I didn’t, I will at least let you know the Santa Clarita Public Library has summer reading programs for kids, teens and adults, and that the programs kick off Monday, June 10. You can learn more here or at your local Santa Clarita Public Library. I also recently shared a summer reading list of great books to read with tots and pre-K kids on my blog.

 

Jennifer Fischer is co-founder of the SCV Film Festival, a mom of two, an independent filmmaker and owner of Think Ten Media Group, whose Generation Arts division offers programs for SCV youth. She writes about her parenting journey on her blog, The Good Long Road. Her commentary is published Saturdays on SCVNews.com.

 

jfischer060813b

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1 Comment

  1. JDaniel4's Mom says:

    What a wonderful list of don’t! They wake so much sense.

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