Passive Aggressive Diaries

Understanding passive aggressive behavior in families, schools, and workplaces

45 Ways to Really Enjoy a Summer

Creating a better kind of to-do list with my kids.

Ever struggle with the sense that your kids are growing up too quickly and far too much of their childhood is taken up by the drudgery of adulthood? In my life—and I’m sure in yours—there are a whole lot of obligations that have to be taken care of…yet I refuse to let another “must,” “ought,” or “should” prevent me from savoring this brief window of opportunity that I have to enjoy time with my only-young-once daughters. My summer resolution is to stress less and savor more. Rather than allowing myself to be ruled by a never-ending, always-growing To-Do list of professional and household tasks, I am making time and space for pure, unfettered fun.

As the 2011-12 school year winds down, I am counting the days until my daughters are done with school for the year. I can’t wait for no-hurry mornings, stay-up-past-bedtime nights, and endless days of summer fun. Scratch “pack lunch” and “finish homework” off of that daily To Do list; summer vacation calls for filling our days with joy. Here is the Top 45 Summer To Do list we created together—the only kind of task list I want to see for the next few months:

1. Make stepping stones

2. Have a car wash

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3. Go to a Drive-In theatre

4. Hike

5. Swim a lot

6. See fireworks

7. Organize a block party for our neighbors

8. Run through a fountain

9. Make homemade ice cream

10. Toss water balloons

11. Run through a sprinkler

12. Play Red Rover, freeze tag, and hide-n-go seek for hours on end

13. Decorate the driveway with chalk

14. Sell lemonade at the park

15. Donate the money to a charity

16. Catch fireflies

17. Look at the stars

18. Sleep in a fort in the basement

19. Sleep in a tent in the backyard

20. Go for a long bike ride

21. Have a picnic at the park

22. Toss a frisbee

23. Learn how to play Frisbee golf

24. Play croquet, badminton, and wiffle ball daily

25. Swing so high that we think our feet will touch the sky

26. Get dizzy on a tire swing

27. Build a sand castle

28. Crash a sandcastle (with permission, of course!)

29. Float down a lazy river on an inner tube

30. Drink water from a hose

31. Eat cones and cones of soft ice cream

32. Make swirly designs in the night sky with sparklers

33. Roast hot dogs and marshmallows on long sticks

34. Eat s’mores

35. Run around after dark, decked out in glow bracelets

36. Go to a museum

37. Ride bikes with friends

38. Rollerblade everywhere!

39. Plant flowers

40. Look for salamanders under garden stones

41. Enjoy the smell of freshly mowed grass

42. Lie in a hammock

43. Blow bubbles

44. Jump rope

45. Enjoy being young…and living summer with young people.

 

Signe Whitson is a licensed social worker and co-author of The Angry Smile: The Psychology of Passive Aggressive Behavior in Families, Schools, and Workplaces, 2nd ed.

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