Originally created 07/12/98

Children's summers bring fun



For more than a month, we adults have griped about the heat and the dryness.

We've fretted about lawns turning brown or our large summer electricity bills.

And we've forgotten that when we were children none of this mattered.

Summer was supposed to be hot; vacation was meant to be enjoyed.

I just wonder if today's kids still enjoy the (almost) three months between classrooms like we did.

I just wonder ...

Do they still have battles with water pistols and garden hoses? Do they still learn how to fill a water balloon to its optimum shape -- small enough to throw accurately, tight enough to burst upon impact?

Do they still experiment with riding their bicycles? Do they still build ramps to send them airborne?

Do they try to pedal without using the handlebars? Do they stand on the seats ... All while hurtling down a steep hill and yelling something?

And when they do yell, is it still "Geronimo"?

Do kids today get to stay up as late as they want during summer? Do they get to watch scary, late-night TV movies?

Do they still have a Monster Theatre featuring Wolf-Man, and Dracula and the Creature from the Black Lagoon?

Do those old-time monsters scare anyone anymore?

Do children today still play outside so much in the summer that they don't have to worry about sunburn?

Do they go barefoot so often, that the soles of their feet develop a toughness that protects them from hot sidewalks and blacktop?

Can they still make a skateboard the old-fashioned way -- out of a board and a dismembered roller skate?

Do kids today still play board games? Do they have neighborhood sessions of Battleship or Clue or Monopoly?

Is Boardwalk or Park Place still hard to buy?

Do they still push Mom or Dad aside at the grill and try to roast hot dogs and marshmallows?

Do they still taste good?

Are there bugs to catch and put in jars? Are there lightning bugs around anymore?

Do children today still make slingshots with a piece of rubber inner-tube and a forked stick? Do they practice on trees?

Do they accidentally break windows?

Do they still play tag? Do they still play freeze tag?

Do they spend the day in a swimming pool, diving for pennies on the bottom or playing `Marco Polo"?

Do they still sort of cheat when they're supposed to shut their eyes?

Do kids today read comic books and trade baseball cards and play all day long?

There are reformers who say we need year-round schools to compete in the world's marketplace.

I'm not so sure.

I think America's most important export is freedom, and summer teaches that lesson best of all.