“And it was summer–warm, beautiful summer.”
Hans Christian Andersen
Making a household today often calls for being intentional. By being ‘intentional’ I mean making a conscious and regular effort to deliberate about how best to achieve an end. In an age when good customs embodied a passed-on wisdom, parents did not need to be so intentional about various aspects of the good life in the home. They could at least somewhat ‘go with the flow,’ as it were.
By and large it is not so today. One area where this is especially apparent is that of quality communal activities. As we enter the summer months it is worth considering what kind of activities are especially conducive to enhancing personal presence and personal relationships in the household.
The place of different kinds of work is one essential part of this consideration. But I am interested in focusing right now on recreational activities. Of course summer is a time when many of us go on vacation, which is comprised especially of such activities. But even apart from vacation as such, summer lends itself to more regular recreational activities, whether on a weekday or weekend.
Summer weather often invites our being outside and enjoying the natural world. Further, children tend to be free of academic concerns and to be looking for, and often needing something to engage them. It is a time to get out and finally do some of those things we tend to daydream about, and that children will later look back on, and remember fondly.
There is no set list of such activities. What is perhaps most important is that we nonetheless make a list for ourselves: so that we actually do them. And we can consider and weigh the activities, both from our own viewpoint and from that of our children. It is important that we all enjoy them; though at the same time we all can stand to develop and deepen our tastes.
Over the next few weeks I am going to offer a few examples of summer activities that might be worth special consideration: the kind that looking back we, and our children, will be especially glad we made the time to do.
Image: Winslow Homer (1836-1910), Boys in a Pasture
“In all manual work we find the primal phenomenon of culture that is human but close to nature.” “The sphere in which we live is becoming more and more artificial, less and less human,” Romano Guardini, Letters from Lake Como We have lost something today, but we can...
“Goodbye Aeneas. Cherish our love in the son it gave us.” Virgil, The Aeneid This stunningly powerful goodbye between spouses says so much. A son, it says, was ‘given’ to a couple by the love they bore one another. Love between spouses is already itself a gift. That...
“And yet, to say the truth, reason and love keep little company together nowadays. The more the pity that some honest neighbors will not make them friends.” Shakespeare (Bottom, in A Midsummer Night’s Dream) Lovers can be notoriously irrational. But is true love...
Husband, father, and professor of Philosophy. LifeCraft springs from one conviction: there is an ancient wisdom about how to live the good life in our homes, with our families; and it is worth our time to hearken to it. Let’s rediscover it together. Learn more.