I am not sure what it is about summer that makes us take a step back and be a little more lackadaisical. Someone coined the phrase the “Lazy Days of Summer” but I prefer to look at summer as a respite for the soul. If you have or have had any connection to education – even being the parent of a school-aged child, you know the excitement that comes with the last day of school and summer vacation. There seems to be permission to do less. It becomes ok to lie in the grass and look at the shape of the clouds, catch lightening bugs at twilight, and if you live in my household, run out at night to watch the space station fly over. I will say that summer is the time that I tend to disengage from the world letting my mind wander allowing my creative thinking to sprout with ideas. When we push ourselves and are constantly on go, we squeeze out the time for our creative brain to do its work.
My best creative and imaginative times seem to come when I am on a long drive or floating in a swimming pool. My brain seems to wander when the stretch of interstate looks the same and there are many miles to go or because the sun is shining down on me as I float gently through the water. This disengagement serves as a spark for my brain and creative ideas begin to flow. On one road trip to Florida, my husband, bonus daughter and I wrote a series of children’s books…or at least we had the idea for a series and brainstormed all the way about Muddy and Buddy’s Cooking Adventures. We had at least seven titles and recipes to drive each story. While those books are yet to be written, we had a multitude of ideas for each book in the series and the drive time seemed to pass quickly because our imagination flourished.
Each year the staff at my school looked forward to hearing what our “Theme for the Year” would be. As I floated in the pool, I would think about the year that had just passed and the direction I felt we needed to go in the year ahead. Thoughts would begin ruminating in my head and usually by the end of June, I had decided our slogan for the upcoming school year. I am not sure that my staff ever realized that in my summer letter each year there were clues as to what the theme would be – clues in the pictures used on the return address label or references within the letter itself. This theme announced and celebrated at the beginning of the school year, was our map and direction for what was to come. This creative spark would have never been possible without the lazy days of summer and allowing my imagination to soar.
I am notorious for filling every minute of each day and it is so easy to be consumed with technology or in doing things that we forget to take some time and let our imagination run. I would encourage you not to schedule all of your children’s time, to allow them to play make-believe and let them break through boredom deciding how they will entertain themselves. You are helping to develop their curiosity, imagination and giving their brain the opportunity to spark and develop creativity. As adults, sometimes we feel that we need permission to be a bit on the lazy side –it’s ok, you have permission. Float, look at the shapes of the clouds, roll down a hill, run with no purpose, let your brain take you on an imagination journey; you’ll be surprised at what pops in to that head of yours. Ideas that will bring focus, purpose, enjoyment and smiles for those you are with at home and at work. After all, it’s summer – Imagination’s playground.