I remember as a child looking forward to summer: daytime at the public pool and evening walks with my family, sitting on the front porch after dinner to breathe in some fresh air, and the wonder of chasing fireflies with my older brother while our parents and other relatives visited on the porch of our home. When we were done running about, our mother would always have a platter of fresh fruit ready to enjoy. Cool watermelon quenched our thirst. We couldn’t get enough of that delicious summer fruit. Finally, the hour would come when it was time for bed. After our showers, my mother would read the Bible with us and then guide us in our evening prayers. Then she would serenely sing a Greek lullaby. “Sleep, my child … and let this sweet song say how much I love you. Good night, my child. Good night.”

Our summer was routine, predictable. Summer was a time for family and friends, walking, playing, and praying. We always felt loved and protected. Life wasn’t perfect, but life was good.

Why, you may ask, am I sharing this with you? Well, as a parent I know that when children are home from school for the summer the daily routine completely changes. Many parents experience stress trying to secure childcare. Other parents are just trying to make the best of having school-aged children home after having a little free time from 8:30 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. Some families can afford a beach vacation and others cannot.

Are these scenarios familiar to you? What happened to those delicious, peaceful days of our youthful summer? What is going on here? When we were children we had no idea how challenging summer could be for our parents. By the grace of God our parents created a world for us that appeared safe, consistent, and loving. Summer days and summer nights were time to spend with family and friends. Our parents set an example for us. They taught us what was valuable in our daily lives: summer fruit of faith, family, and love.

“The fruits of Paradise bear rich wealth for those who gather them.”

(St. Ephrem, The Hymns on Paradise, p. 127)

As you go about your daily affairs, I pray that you and your family have a safe, loving, and wonderful summer. Please keep our Lord and Savior in your hearts and daily lives. Make attending church a family priority. Remember, God doesn’t go on summer vacation!