Time for ‘Summer Rules’

Apr. 27, 2013 @ 05:04 AM

With only a month to go before school will be out for the summer, I’m reminded of a time in my life when parents would “circle the wagons” and have us sit at the kitchen table for my father’s annual “Summer Rules” chat, also known in the Moeller household as “The lecture.”

We sometimes viewed this chat as another lecture from “The Warden.” However, my father, with a little finesse and a tiny well-placed threat here and there, always made this talk into a meaningful and rewarding experience.

Here are a few excepts from Father Moeller’s “Summer Rules for Kids” presentation which may serve as food for thought. Sorry a complete, unedited transcript is not available. 

Summer Rules for Kids Lecture No. 105

Kids, now that school is almost out and you’ll flying high with the spirit of summer and freedom, your mother and I would like to present you with a few ... well suggestions on how we might all have a better summer. Actually, there are a few rules we want you to follow.

Are these rules written in stone? Is there margin for error? Will the rules bend a bit?

Well, kids. To be absolutely truthful, NO.

Ignore these summer rules and you might find yourself in more trouble than a harp seal with hiccups during the cubing season:

Here they are:

1. Plan right now never to say the words “I’m bored” or “There’s nothing to do.” Violators will be given a bucket of white paint and a paint brush to spruce up all the fences and buildings around the farm.

2. We enjoy your friends. Believe us, we do. But this isn’t “Leave it to Beaver” and we’re not rolling in Pudding Pops. That means you don’t parade 14 strange kids through the kitchen for halftime treats during the neighborhood football game. Ask nicely and Mom might let you take out a pitcher of ice water with lemons in it.

3. Leave a note, or suffer dire consequences. If you accept Johnny’s spur-of-the-moment invitation to come to his house to play ball, we don’t want to find out the hard way — by canvassing 40 acres. If you fail to leave a note, then kiss your sweet ball playing privileges good-bye for the rest of the summer.

4. We know you have difficulty deciding what the best volume setting on your stereo will be for summer, so we will help you. Turn the volume knob to the setting you prefer, then simply divide that number by 10 to set the setting we will require. It’s easy!

5. Resist the temptation to call Mom  at work every hour of every working day during the summer. She has a job to do that helps support this family. Your interruptions cost money to her employer and the family.

6. Since you are now free from the drudgery of books and homework, Mom and I will expect a little more help around the house and yard. It would be nice to see somebody sweep the back hall or trim around the maples without being asked too, but we don’t expect miracles overnight. Start with something simple, like putting your tennis shoes in the closet.

7. If and when Mom and Dad schedule a vacation, keep the groans and moans to a minimum. Yes, we also hate to see you miss Judy’s slumber party, plus swim team, softball or baseball practice and chances to earn lawn mowing and baby sitting greenbacks. But we’re shelling out big bucks for this vacation and you’re going to go and have fun it kills you!

8. If your chain comes off your bike, then we’d best learn how to put the chain back on or learn how to wait until later. 

9. Like resisting the temptation to say “I’m bored” resist the temptation to say, “There’s nothing to eat.” Go out the garden and pull up a carrot, grab an apple off the tree or grab a bowl of cereal. Sure there might not be something in the fridge to eat, but our garden has plenty of goodies in it that can be harvested.

10. For the love of Pete, work hard and play hard this summer and have tons of fun. But also play it safe. Think twice when Charlie says he’d like to take you for a ride on his moped, now that he’s figured out how to remove the throttle governor or when Sam hints that his dad’s ladder will probably reach the garage roof. Or when Susie “thinks” her uncle won’t mind if you took his boat cruising. 

Whether you realize it or not, your parents do love you. We want you to have all the fun and freedom you can stand.

But ... we also want you back again next summer.


Wanda Moeller is the publisher of The Daily Courier. She can be reached at wmoeller@thedigitalcourier.com