There are times when I feel like I’m living in the 1950s. Of course, when I see my older kids frantically texting on their phones or watching basketball highlights on the computer, this feeling evaporates. But nevertheless, on a typical day in the summer, I feel like we’ve gone back in time.
My kids live quite simple lives. The yishuv and surrounding areas provide a wealth of fantastic camp choices and I love watching them go off on their own each day. My 4 year old is in camp in his nursery school. My first grader has a highly subsidized program from the Israeli government that enables first and second graders to participate in camp at their schools for the first three weeks of the summer. So he happily goes off to his bus each morning. And my 3rd grader is in a lovely, nurturing camp here in the yishuv. He jumps on his bike each morning and drives off, returning afterwards on his own.
This morning I swung by the camp and had to stop to take this picture.
I just love it.
Look at the number of bikes – of the kids who are getting on their bikes in the morning and getting themselves to camp.
Who rides bikes anymore? And who uses them as a way to get around in their daily lives? These guys do.
There is another very popular camp in the yishuv for elementary school girls. They hang up this adorable banner each year welcoming the girls to their house and Camp Jump. The simplicity and innocence of it makes me smile each year.
My 7th grade son is in a program in the yishuv that I absolutely love. It’s for 6th to 8th grade kids and it includes a month of activities. They are doing all sorts of interesting things together-- from character building activities, paint ball and a trip to Masada to being part of the welcoming ceremony at the Nefesh B’Nefesh ceremony next week at the airport. But the thing that I really love about the program is that it’s not jam packed. They have many hours a day of down time – of time to ride their bikes around in a pack, of time to relax, chat and make orange juice and ice cream shakes in my kitchen.
Our lives are so jam-packed and programmed. And I love that, at least for the month of July (don’t get me started on August), there is time. Time to relax, to enjoy wholesome, close-to-home activities, to pick up a bike and ride to a friend, to get to camp on your own and to meet up with a pack of friends for nightly basketball and soccer games at the local court.
I see many children who are overwhelmingly and insanely programmed in the summer. And I understand that this is the choice that some parents make, particularly if there are two full-time working parents. I get this if it’s necessary. But in my case, I think there is something to be said for enjoying a less glamorous summer. For soaking in the day, relaxing in the backyard, doing art projects out of egg crates and learning to use their time.
We're in the 1950s here in Neve Daniel, going back to a time of more simplicity and innocence. And loving every minute of it.