June 21st, 2014
Fave Re-run

Summer Solstice Resolution

It has been a long time since I could swing my girls around, yet I still encourage them to be a bit carefree and have fun. Especially in the summer. Summer is when we stop, look, and listen to our girls. The school year is such a dash to the finish that there is little time to slow down and reflect.

When my older daughter got into Stanford for the summer program, we thought it would be perfect for her. But as it got closer to the time for her to go, and she came home exhausted from finals, we started to reassess the value of studying through the summer. We know it would look great on her college application, but is it truly how we want her to spend the next few months?

The day we withdrew a junior counselor spot opened at an amazing camp, Aloha Hive, in Vermont. We had 36 hours to pack and fly, yet when I dropped her duffles in the tent, I knew this was the right decision.

The summer solstice is a bit like New Year’s for me. This is when I actually focus on what is working and more importantly, not working, in our lives. My resolution for this summer is to stop worrying about doing the “right” things and just do what’s best for my family.

This post went up two years ago, but it resonates with where we are today. 



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  • With a 23, 21 , 18 and 12 year old, I can relate to this on so many levels! I think you have the right approach and I am sure your daughter will not only thank you for it, she will be all the wiser for it. She most likely has a few life lessons in store for her. The best way to learn.
    From one wise woman to another… keeping it real..the 6o’s and 70’s way.. 🙂

    Jeanne @ Collage of LifeJune 20th, 2012  1:19 PM

  • You SO made the right decision for your daughter. Mine is going off to college in the fall and I can see now that all of that “resume” stuff is just that.

    They need time to just enjoy nature and learn who they really are. Love the Jackie photo, thanks for your POV.

    Anne HansenJune 20th, 2012  1:25 PM

  • Amen!

    kayce hughesJune 20th, 2012  1:29 PM

  • What a great, great decision. …and a courageous one considering how competitive life is. The most important lesson, I believe, is the fact that your daughter witnessed her mom advocating for her…which she will hopefully do for both herself and her children one day. Bravo!

    Hollye Jacobs, The Silver PenJune 20th, 2012  2:07 PM

  • Bravo – I spent all of my high school summers as a junior counselor at a summer camp and it was the best thing I could have done. Brilliant. xox

    LindseyJune 20th, 2012  2:23 PM

  • Absolutely the best decision..these years fly by
    too quickly. Enjoy and savour the moments we have been given with our children everyday.
    For they will soon belong to the world!

    Maria HoskinsonJune 20th, 2012  2:52 PM

  • I couldn’t agree more … summertime is better than NYE and what better way to re-group and start fresh than the turn of Summer. Xoxo-BLC

    BLCJune 20th, 2012  3:12 PM

  • What a wonderful decision you made. If you have a chance go on youtube and listen to David McCullough Jr’s Wellesley High School Graduation speech. He talks about graduates doing what they love instead of filling their resume. His speech is all over the internet.

    PS. Your blog is fantastic

    susanJune 20th, 2012  4:03 PM

  • You are SPOT on, as usual.

    HeatherJune 20th, 2012  5:14 PM

  • Bravo for recognizing what is best for your daughter, and not what will look best on her hs resume. I agree with Susan above; the McCullough graduation speech is fabulous and well worth the listen!

    DRJune 21st, 2012  9:35 AM

  • I love the idea of the summer solstice being like New Year’s Eve, with going over what’s working and what’s not, mid-year. Great picture, great post, great decision for your daughter!

    JillJune 21st, 2012  2:46 PM

  • Amen!

    JessicaJune 21st, 2012  6:56 PM

  • Children/teenagers grow up so fast! They should enjoy their summers so they can look back on those wonderful days. Good decision! She has her whole life ahead of her to pursue academics.

    DeannaJune 22nd, 2012  10:22 PM

  • Adorable picture. Time to just be and contemplate who you are is so important and too often lacking in our children’s lives today. I remember how long and leisurely summer seemed to be when I was a kid. The fact the time was filled with unscheduled time to relax, play and dream is undoubtedly why it seemed that way. Time is a wonderful gift to give a child!

    AprilJune 21st, 2014  7:07 AM

  • My second son has just graduated college and now has a job. All that worrying about how things looked on an application or resume ended in a flash. Life goes so fast and it shouldn’t be all about what’s on your resume.

    kimJune 21st, 2014  9:33 AM

  • Thank you Preston for this post, and to the lovely comments (I will certainly search for that speech).
    My youngest (22) did a 4year undergrad in English, travelled in Europe last summer, and then found herself feeling a little….adrift……because she loved the travelling so much, but felt that the proper thing to do was save up, do a post grad degree, then JOB etc etc. She was lucky enough to find a great summer job, applied and was accepted into new program, but. My husband and I watched the spark go out of her and so we had what felt like an ironic conversation: we counselled her to NOT go to school this fall and travel instead! She has decided to work and save until next spring, then travel and attend college next fall.
    Funny isn’t it, we do our best to raise responsible adults, but we need to remember to let life happen sometimes as well.

    SueMJune 21st, 2014  10:57 AM

  • This immediately resonated with me, thank you so much for posting!

    JenJune 21st, 2014  11:50 AM

  • Late to the post, but coincidentally, our daughter attended a summer program at Stanford as a h.s.junior in ’08. She found a creative writing workshop which interested her. She has been writing stories since she was a young child, so this was a natural outgrowth of her interest and an opportunity to hone her craft and spend time with other kids that liked the same thing she liked. She went on to major in English with a focus in Creative Writing at her liberal arts college, and she works in a related field today. The program was in tune with her sincere love of writing, and not at all rigorous or competitive. All of that being said, the most important question for h.s./college kids when considering an activity is, “why am I doing this?” If the answer is to build up a resume, impress friends, or to please parents or a teacher, it is the wrong decision. The current hot admissions item is ‘community service,’ preferably in a third world country where you don’t speak the language. Volunteering in your home town, reading to an elderly woman, or pulling weeds at home doesn’t count. ‘Community service’ now requires a plane ticket (thanks, Mom and Dad!), and a series of immunizations. So now basic charity work is in over-drive as well!
    Parents must know their kids and be very tuned in and sensitive to their temperament, maturity and need for down time. It is important to help them say ‘no’ to things, and for them to learn to reject trends that are simply not true to their hearts and minds.

    PaulaJune 23rd, 2014  2:50 AM

  • Wonderful post! My hubby did the summer program at Stanford, and he loved it. Your daughter is lucky to have supportive parents!

    MelissaJune 24th, 2014  10:48 PM


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