As summer vacation draws to a close and a new school year looms on the horizon, I find myself in awe again at the way children are so innocent, yet so wise all at the same time. My boys, together with all of their neighborhood friends, have figured out that life is going to change again soon. They've bought the new school supplies, the fashionable new school clothes and most have visited their new classrooms. They understand that the days of book reports, science projects and time away from their friends is just a breath away.
So, what do they do? Do they spend their days in dread of the work that lies ahead? Do they withdraw; saddened at the fact that they won't see most of their friends for most of the day? Maybe they worry, constantly, about a new teacher and new assignments? No; at least not the kids I get to see everyday in my neighborhood. These kids seem to have unconsciously decided that the best course of action is to pack every last, fleeting day with as much laughter, sword fights, bike riding and bug catching as possible. They have eaten more lunches and dinners together during the past two weeks than they have throughout most of the summer. They hit the door in the morning and don't come back in until the stars are dancing in the sky. The sound of laughter floats through the air throughout the day; the street is a virtual parade of bikes, scooters and rollerblades.
I think these wise innocents are onto something. We need to pack our days full of laughter and joy as well. Sure, the laundry needs to get done and dinner needs to be cooked. But, how much of our daily hustle is truly necessary; how much is truly not? As I look at our days, I sometimes become overwhelmed with all that "needs" to be fit in. Maybe, just maybe, we need to step back and truly assess what is needed. If we take just one activity off (I vote for ironing, myself!) and replace it with an activity to be done just for joy and fun, won't we be in a little better place?
I'm all for adding joy to my life. I'd add more, but right now I've been invited to a chicken nugget picnic on the front lawn with some of my favorite kids. I'd be crazy to pass that up!