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Back to School and Summer Thoughts

By Paul Hogan

How can that be? Only 1 month and its back to school?  I write this in July – school starts in about 4 weeks! My gosh I just pulled the summer table umbrella out of the garage –  okay, don’t judge me, I’m busy – I procrastinate.

Back to school – I had two questions which I googled for the answers.:

  • Why are there summer breaks?
  • Answer: It has nothing to do with farming as I thought. That’s a myth. The real reason is because it gets hot in the summer. Really HOT! So back then (they didn’t say when “then” was) rich and upper middle-class students went to beaches and mountains with their parents. One-half of the classrooms were empty so teachers and administrators all bought into having a summer break for everyone.
  • Why does school now start in August?
  • Answer: The biggest reason is so that final exams and papers are all finished before the Christmas break rather than students coming back after Christmas break with empty minds and half-finished papers. Also, it allows them to have more breaks during the year; fall, Christmas and spring break. Studies show students and teachers do better with more breaks. We as adults could and should learn a lesson – we are better when we rest after expending effort in all aspects of our lives.

I know, I know, you have kids, kids’ activities, work, church and community activities. You say, “Paul, you don’t understand, my life is different.” My response is, “Okay, differences are good, still we are all human beings and as such we crave oscillation: a variation between being awake then sleeping; after we expend effort we rest; go to school or work then we take a break/vacation.” Studies show the United States ranked the highest in unused vacation time. We be bad.

So, as you hurry about squeezing out the last bit of joy from summer remember to put your feet up, read a book, or take a well-deserved nap or listen to your favorite music. Anything – just give yourself a “break.”

P.S. – Final thoughts, and nothing to do with summer or back to school. I have a song playing over and over in my head. I hear Peter Gabriel’s voice singing “life carries on and on and on…”  It’s a song titled “I Grieve.” Seasons pass, people come and go in our lives – loss and acceptance. Funny how we can hear the distinctive voice in our head of someone we know, someone we’re thinking of and they are not physically present, they may live elsewhere, or some may have passed from this life gone on to the “banquet of eternity” (a line from the movie Victoria and Abdul – a good movie I recommend.) Yet we recognize and hear in our mind their distinctive tone, word spacing, the pitch, the timbre all that made their voice unique.