The spirit of the season
by Chris Bonham, Intern writer
For many people, and teens in particular, summer is an iconic period of freedom and relaxation. We all watch and wait for the first signs of the season. We eagerly anticipate and plan all that we want to accomplish during the short span of three months. Everyone loves the sound of vacations, time off work or school, and spending more time with family and friends. This final idea, that of spending more time with the people we love, is often the most enjoyable, but also the most overlooked joy of this season.
With summer drawing to a close, many teens will return to the normal routine they follow for much of the year. Some may even be starting school this month. Much of the glamor of summer will be lost, including that joy of developing relationships with the people who are close to us. However, many people would say this deterioration of relational bonds is normal, especially amongst families. Iowa State University (ISU) documents that “It’s normal for teens to spend less time with family.” While this may be the norm, it’s also very unfortunate. ISU, in the very same paper that contained the above quote, listed “Teens less involved with family” as the most common stressor in households today.
It’s ironic, really, that something most people accept as normal, also causes so much stress in our lives. What if we were to eliminate that stress? It would be uncomfortable for everybody to go against something that is so accepted by our generation. After all, who intentionally spends time with family anymore? But I would argue the benefits of being healthier and happier well outweigh the discomfort.
So how do we change these gloomy observations? Well, it all starts with teens who purposefully spend quality time with their loved ones. At first, it may be difficult. Your friends, and sometimes even your own family, may regard your actions as strange. However, the only way to change those around you is to first change yourself. During the summer months, we experience a unique kind of joy that seems to be lost so quickly.
And while summer may end on a specific date, the feelings we enjoy don’t have to. By doing the hard thing, and investing in those relationships we value, we can experience an even greater joy that can last all year round.