by Father Mark Goldasich
Pardon me, but I’d like to report a theft. Someone stole the whole month of June! I’m sure that it was just Memorial Day and now, somehow, it’s already the Fourth of July. How did that happen?
Remember how long the months of summer seemed when you were a kid? Now, the hours, days and weeks flash by in the blink of an eye.
I can certainly relate to the following story:
Once a man and his wife were on a kayaking trip in the Apostle Islands in northern Wisconsin. As they ate lunch on a remote beach, they were talking to the tour guide.
The husband mentioned how unusual it was to have no TV, no newspapers, no cell-phone and no internet connection.
“In fact,” he added, “it’s going to be strange to return home and find out what’s happening in the real world.”
No one spoke for a few minutes. Then, without taking his eyes from the horizon, the guide said, “I assume that’s what you came here for.” (Adapted from “Kayaking,” found in William J. Bausch’s “A World of Stories for Preachers and Teachers.”)
So often, we all get confused about what constitutes the “real world.” We feel driven to rush from one event to another or to be available 24/7 via email, text or phone. In the process, we’ve forgotten how to truly live.
Imagine my surprise when I found out there’s a special holiday to get us adults (and even some overly scheduled kids) back on track. I was too busy, I guess, to notice that July 8 each year is celebrated as Be a Kid Again Day. It’s a time to step away from the troubles of life, from our bad habits and fears, from the bills and appointments, and instead view the world again — like a kid — with wonder, curiosity and freedom.
The website Always The Holidays has these great suggestions on how to mark this special day:
• Lay outside in the grass, watch the clouds float by and note what shapes you see.
• Reread a book that you loved as a child.
• Play a favorite game from your childhood like Chutes and Ladders, Candy Land or the Game of Life. (If you choose to play Twister, however, it’s probably advisable to call 911 in advance.)
• Color in a coloring book. Since you’re not being graded on neatness, feel free to color outside the lines and use zany crayons or markers.
• Set up a meal with your best friend and make it clear that no adult stuff can be discussed.
• Work some puzzles — jigsaw, crossword or word search.
Here are some activities I’d add:
• Take a trip to the zoo and munch on some cotton candy.
• Run — well, at least walk fast — to the ice cream truck when you hear its bell. Pay for the treats for kids in the neighborhood.
• Since July 8 is a Saturday this year, revisit your home parish and attend Mass there.
• Visit a local museum or park or catch a movie or theater production that you never seem to have time for.
I’ll close with this gem of wisdom from a mom:
“I told my kids that we are no longer saying, ‘Shut up,’ because it sounds mean and can hurt people’s feelings. So, my kids are getting creative with their use of words. My 9-year-old daughter was talking and talking, and my 6-year-old son couldn’t take it anymore and said, ‘Silence, you peasant!’” (Certainly, Your Majesty!)
Well, I’m going to get in a little practice now before the actual Be a Kid Again Day: After running through the sprinkler, I’m taking a nap.