Summer is synonymous with swimming pools, fireflies, cookouts, barefeet and sun. Life is supposed to slow down. Yet, things have really been heating up this summer.
North Korea, Kenya, Sierra Leone, Charlottesville, and most recently Barcelona. These headlines are a constant ticker of tragedy, disappointment, and horror. I can’t even keep up anymore.
This season I’ve been whirling in a juxtaposition of sun and swimming pools countered with bug bites and darkness. I’ve had my share of ice cream and sand, but most days have been filled with work and the daily routine of what should I wear to what’s for dinner? The days blend together. The news reels in.
Physically, I live in a safe quiet neighborhood where change is not constant. I’m grateful for a house, a family and a job. But it’s impossible to ignore and hard not to react to the #truth of our current state of affairs.
What’s happening to our culture? Are we learning anything valuable? Are we making progress? Sometimes it takes situations to become worse before change happens. Issues on race, poverty, business, healthcare, education and global affairs are in our face daily and won’t be disappearing anytime soon. There will always be chaos.
While we can’t change situations alone or protect ourselves and children from the future, we can have dialogue, cultivate awareness of the issues and learn to manage conflict. Even in these suburban pockets of sameness, we can teach, talk and live our days with purpose.
I took my daughter to the Women’s March back in January. I tried to explain in simple speak what it all meant, even though words like “freedom,” “rights,” and “equality” were lost on her. I’m glad she was exposed to a group of men and women who were coming together for a shared cause. I’m proud she was a small part of it even though it was more meaningful for me than for her. Sometimes Saturdays aren’t just meant for playing.
In this vein of mixing up serious with trivial, we are winding down our summer with a last hurrah before SJ begins school after Labor Day. Hint: There will be beach, shellfish, castles and wine. There’s no escaping the news even while traveling but I’m always reminded with a fresh perspective when we embark on new territory. It helps me to reflect on life back home when we’re far away and to see how life rolls with the punches among other cultures.