Savoring the Sweetness of Summer

Jun 27, 2019 | Posted by Jennifer


Doldrums. The word describes a feeling of lassitude or torpor and was derived from an area called the doldrums, located around the equator. Having very little air movement, sailing vessels can sometimes become stuck there for extended periods of time. In the long, lazy days of summer, it’s not uncommon that we find ourselves, parent and child, similarly stuck in our own doldrums. As parents we may even hear the dreaded, “I’m bored. There’s nothing to do!” If that happens to you, don’t stress. And don’t feel as if you immediately need to fix the issue either. There are surprising benefits to being bored.

Western culture places a high value on work and busy-ness. It becomes almost a badge of honor to share with our friends how overworked we are and how many activities our children are involved in. During the school year our students may have tutoring, athletics, and clubs on top of their homework load, keeping parents busy after the work day shuttling their students from Point A to Point B. And when the summer comes, oftentimes families simply double down on the activities, signing their students up for drama camps, faith-based camps, horse camps, taekwondo camps, cooking camps, etc. If you can think of it, there’s a camp for it! While all of these experiences provide enrichment and fun for students, making time for some margin offers some benefits.

Boredom can be the key that unlocks relief for an overstrained mind. While our bodies are at rest, our brains are still engaged. Margin to sit, to breathe, and to think can provide the impetus that stimulates creativity and novel thought. Bertrand Russell, a British philosopher, once said, “A generation that cannot endure boredom will be a generation of little men, of men unduly divorced from the slow process of nature, of men in whom every vital impulse slowly withers as though they were cut flowers in a vase.” Boredom facilitates thought. And thought leads to creativity and innovation. Too often we work to eliminate boredom, but perhaps building in some space in our summer to reflect and dream will make our world a little bit brighter.

This summer, think about ways you can cherish the slower pace with your children. One of the best ways to enjoy summer is to simply get outside and embrace “the slow process of nature.” Go to the park, take a hike, stick your feet in a cool stream, or set up your hammock in the backyard for a summer snooze. Watch a storm roll in and listen to the clash of the thunder. Put up a backyard bird feeder and notice the birds that come to visit it. Keep a notebook and pencil nearby and see if you can capture the tree in your backyard or that big rock in the park that the children love to climb. Sit in the dark and listen to the sound of the frogs barking in the distance. Watch the fireflies dance.

The slower pace of summer is not a thing to be avoided; it’s a thing to be celebrated. To learn more about how you can enjoy the great outdoors with your students, listen to Andrew Pudewa’s presentation, “Nature Deficit Disorder: Causes, Consequences, and Cures.” We are delighted to share it with you for free. What ways do you have to embrace the slower pace of the summer? Share them in the comments section of this post, and we will enter your name to win a $50.00 IEW gift card. The drawing will be held at the end of the day on July 31, so don’t worry. You have plenty of time to rest and enjoy the slower pace of life, perhaps with a nice cold glass of freshly squeezed lemonade by your side.


Jennifer Mauser has always loved reading and writing and received a B.A. in English from the University of Kansas in 1991. Once she and her husband had children, they decided to homeschool, and she put all her training to use in the home. In addition to homeschooling her children, Jennifer teaches IEW classes out of her home, coaches budding writers via email, and tutors students who struggle with dyslexia.

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