Spoiled or fortunate? It’s a question that often runs through my head during summer break. It also happens to be a pretty popular topic of discussion at our dinner table.
On the farm, my summer break was spent irrigating, rogueing soybeans or cutting thistle with my siblings…while our town friends spent most days at the pool or congregating at someone’s house. Not to continue the pity party but one of my favorite childhood memories involves my parents dropping me off in town with my bike for an afternoon with my friends. Man, that was living.
Raising children in Petersburg, I relish the thought of them being town kids. While I am nervous about the “what if’s” I’m also a firm believer in giving them the opportunity to learn responsibility and experience some independence. Groups of kids of all ages, running in packs from two to 10, take over the streets on their bikes. Swing by the pop machines on Main Street, cruise by the middle school playground, and take on any mud hole or steep hill they can find.
This newfound independence also creates a few summer perks: Bike rides turn into instant play dates. A walk becomes a shopping trip to Leifeld’s. Getting the mail includes a scavenger hunt—for anything from cool rocks to bird eggs. ‘I’ll be right back’ turns into a 30-minute disappearing act.
When they aren’t riding bikes, kids can quickly transform yards into practice fields and porches into Barbie’s neighborhood. It’s all but impossible to keep sports equipment and toys out of sight. I can’t help but wonder if people pass by and question whether this is a busy home or an out of control daycare.