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Does summer mean we have more time?

The other day, a friend of Twitter pointed out that summer reading schedules assume that people have more time in the summer to read than at other times of the year. Having been brought up in a family with ties to farming, I have also thought about this notion of "summer reading." Summer, for some people, is actually busier than winter. While churches tend to trim their schedules in the summer, it isn't because we're all farming. Why is there a sense that summer = slowing down?

Of course, when I was a child, there was more time to read in the summer because there was no school. When I became a grown up and had a job, that wasn't true. Especially when I had children, the opposite was true. Having kids home all day and being involved in summer sports meant life was much busier. We did not have the means to take off to the beach or the lake for two weeks. Our family vacations involved travelling across the country to see family. We spent a great deal of time on those vacations running around to ensure we got to see everyone we wanted to see. I am fortunate in that I don't get car sick when I read while travelling, but not everyone can plow through a book while she's on the road. When the kids were in school, even though we homeschooled, I looked forward to the routine of fall.

There does seem to be, however, the notion that summer is time for rest and relaxation. I doubt that was the way of it when we were a more agrarian society. The summer months are time of growth, actually. People planted their vegetable gardens and were busy tending their crops. Winter was the time for rest, when people were able to visit friends and relax. My aunt and uncle, who are only now retiring from farming, never took time off in the summer. In fact, they could not attend my wedding, which was in April, because they had cows calving. They were able to attend my brother's wedding, which was in September, when things slowed down.

Having more time to read in the summer is definitely a luxury. My daughter pointed out recently that people who are financially limited are often also lacking in time as well, so things like a summer off for reading is never going to be a reality. I have been out of school since the end of April, and I don't think I've read more than I normally would; and I don't have outside employment to keep me from doing it. I still have the same hours in the day, and summer means making time for household maintenance that can't be done in winter months. Even when I went on a vacation to see my parents in April, the only time I read for any sustained time was on the plane. 

That said, I do encourage all children who are out of school for the summer to read, and read as much as you can. I loved those lazy afternoons when I could read as long as I wanted. I made a path from my house to the library throughout the summer months. It was a luxury I am thankful I was given. Take the time now, because we don't get any more time in a day as we get older.

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