Monday, July 15, 2024

EDITORIAL: Try to learn from sounds of summer

| June 21, 2024 1:00 AM

Summer sure took its sweet time.

But Father’s Day ushered in a gradual warming not just of the hearts, but of the North Idaho heartland. Yesterday it became official, with the solstice and 80+ temperatures kissing on summer’s altar. 

And so the stage is set for another magnificent season. Since you’re an actor privileged to occupy space on this stage, we have a request. Use the beautiful sounds of summer to remember what matters.

Some among us ridicule school requests for increased funding, noting how it’s always “for the kids.”

Well, school funding notwithstanding, if we’re not all here for the kids, for the grandkids, for the children of strangers who want nothing more than what many of us got growing up, then maybe we should reflect a little more on our purpose. 

Hint: It is not to fight among ourselves, a principle that your mother tried hard to instill.

So what is it? With mind open and mouth closed, with this gorgeous weather unlocking summer’s doors for you, take a walk.

Let it carry you through your favorite local park, where the squeaks of well-worn playground equipment rise above the happy chatter of children.

Stroll along City Beach, Honeysuckle Beach or a popular riverside place and unleash your listening skills. Hear that? 

The squeals of joy, of children splashing and thrashing in innocent delight, collaborating on the better sand castle construction techniques, begging for snow cone money or a snack that’s eager to meet a mouth armed with just enough teeth to get the job done.

But Ma Nature isn’t the only key holder for happy children. Pull up one of the little chairs in your library’s children’s section — like kids, those things are tougher than they look — and take in a story time, one conducted by library staff or a parent or big brother or sister sharing a good tale with pairs of wee ears. 

That’s the sound of learning, of bonding, of seeds of wisdom and creativity being planted and watered. It is those sounds that will reverberate the longest, echoing not just through seasons but generations. 

And if you will, adults, listen a little more and talk a little less gathered around a picnic table. Even if you don’t understand 50% of what the kids are talking about, you can be 100% assured that their openness says much about the level of trust they have in you and the future you're creating.

This gift of summer is waiting for you to pick up. It's just for you — from the kids.