As a child, I spent long lazy summer afternoons lying on my back, gazing at the sky. I loved to watch the rivers of puffy clouds stream overhead, sailing across a vast ocean of deep blue. Childhood summers offered lots of time for sky gazing and daydreaming.
My friends and I enjoyed an unstructured childhood. Our days weren’t crammed full of self-improving activities like gymnastics or ballet classes. Our mothers weren’t soccer Moms shuffling us from one place or event to the next… So we had lots of time to lie on our backs, gaze at the skies, daydream, tell tall tales, or imagine ourselves as the hero of our own fantasy adventures.
We played games, rode bikes, walked fence rails, formed cliques (and broke them just as quickly). On rainy days we read books or the latest comic books. On sunny days we wandered the neighborhood, explored the nearby woods, snacked on fresh berries or fruits we “borrowed” from a neighbor’s tree. We had the luxury (or challenge) of long hours with minimal adult supervision. We were largely responsible for creating our own forms of amusement. We returned home in time for meals, or before dark on days when school was out.
We were the pre-digital, pre-Sesame Street generation. TV viewing was rationed, to leave enough time to do homework without causing World War III to break out between us and our parents. There were no videogames or texting volleys to distract our attention.
Now that we’re adults, surrounded by digital devices and barraged by incoming texts, emails and tweets — committed to overly busy schedules and work/life obligations — those lazy blue-sky afternoons are far behind us.
Something has been lost in the process…