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A Summer Fully Alive

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I once heard someone say there are at least three reasons to become a teacher: June, July, and August. This response, I suppose, is true, but not because the summer is a time for laziness; rather, it is because the summer offers an opportunity for recreation in the truest sense of that word. It is a time to be made anew and, by this, to live fully.

Whether your summer has, up to this point, been full of life or full of languor, now is the time to begin again. To this end, we have gathered here an anthology of The Forum’s resources aimed at helping you and your family make the most of the warm months ahead.    

At a Glance

“If you don’t know where you are going,” Yogi Berra tells us, “you might not get there.” Helping your son fill out a calendar is a great way for him to gain a big-picture view of the summer months to come and make the most of the treasure which is time. We have (re-)made The Heights Summer Planner in order to assist you in this effort. 

Below are a few other resources as you think about the summer months ahead: 

  1. Mentoring Sons to a Successful Summer with Joe Cardenas: This episode is tailored to parents of upper school students. In it, Mr. Cardenas suggests looking at the summer from two perspectives: the bird’s eye view and the daily routine. Looking over the summer as a whole – perhaps with a calendar in hand – you can help your sons set goals and make big-picture plans. But goals without effective systems are mere wishes, so Mr. Cardenasalso encourages a good daily routine that will help your sons to realize these goals. 
  2. Three Components of a Great Summer with Colin Gleason: This episode is aimed more towards parents of lower school students. Mr. Gleason offers three ways that boys can fill their summer with healthy leisure and positive growth, balancing a good schedule with the good of spontaneity, and offering a third way to spend the summer months that is neither the couch nor endless camps. 
  3. Four Ways to Have an Incredible Summer by Tom Steenson: In this article, Mr. Steenson outlines four ways to help your sons flourish during the summer months: engage reality, “do nothing” well, think of others, and remember both the body and the soul.
  4. Seven Ways to End Summer Well by Rich Moss: Aristotle tells us that we are to begin with the end in mind. Although we are now at the beginning of summer, this article offers a few pieces of practical advice aimed especially at older boys on how to end the summer well. In particular, Mr. Moss shows how you can approach the end as a sort of second beginning and, rather than going lazily into the homestretch, make the most of the final push.  

Family Life 

Summer time often means family time. Whether you are going on a family excursion or making the most of the little adventures of each day, below are a few resources to spur some reflections on life in the home: 

  1. Family Culture with Alvaro de Vicente
  2. Board Games: An Alternative to Screen Addiction by Joe Bissex
  3. Learn to Turn: On Parental Prudence with Tom Royals
  4. The Read-Aloud Family with Sarah Mackenzie 

Summer Reading 

School may have ended for the year, but this does not mean that there needs to be a lull in the life of the mind. There is perhaps no better way to cultivate and strengthen the muscle of the mind than by reading. For some boys, this activity comes naturally; for others, it may take little — or more than a little — encouragement. Below are a few pieces to help you as you help your son fall in love with reading: 

  1. Summer Reading with a Purpose with Tom Longano 
  2. Performing Books Aloud with Tom Longano 
  3. Coaching the Reluctant and Precocious Reader in the Art of Reading with Tom Longano 

A Time for Leisure 

While the school year is often filled with a seemingly endless cycle of activities, hopefully the summer months allow us to slow down and reorient all these good activities toward their proper end which makes them good: leisure — loving contemplation, which is the better part that Mary had chosen.  

  1. What is the Difference Between Free Time and Leisure? by Joe Bissex 
  2. On Nature Journals and Observant Souls with Eric Heil 
  3. Why We Need Exposure to Nature by Eric Heil 
  4. How to Master the Art of Reading Outside by Tom Longano
  5. Five Fruits of a Poetic Education by Nate Gadiano 

With the increase in free time, the summer affords us an opportunity for growth; but with the increase in free time, it also means that such growth is not guaranteed. We hope that The Forum may assist you and your family as your June aspirations turn into September realities.


About the Author

Nate Gadiano

Executive Director

Nate is the Executive Director of The Heights Forum. In addition to his work at the Forum, he has also taught Natural History in the Lower School; and currently leads a philosophy seminar for high school seniors.

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