Baby Boomers: Summer? What summer?

Baby Boomers: Summer? What summer?

This post has already been read 871 times!

Summer? What summer?

By Ray Hanania

Ray Hanania

Ray Hanania

When I was a kid, we got out of school in May, and then didn’t return until well after Labor Day in September. That gave us more than three months to enjoy the summer.

Nowadays, it’s changed dramatically and children and families have less time to enjoy themselves. My son didn’t get out of school until in June and he’ll go back to school a week before Labor Day weekend, which this year is a bit early. In reality, he barely gets 10 weeks of vacation.

On top of it, add the fact that this summer has been more like winter. And, the economy sucks so we didn’t take a vacation like we did last year.

Is that supposed to be good for society? Families? Children? I don’t think so.

A lot of the change has to do with money, and even more has to do with technology. But it’s wrong.

My son is out shopping for school supplies today when he should be enjoying himself. He’s a kid. And childhood rushes past us without a speed limit.

It’s about money. It’s not about health or having good memories to carry with you through life. It’s all about money. School districts are afraid to lose funds if their schools days are short because of Winter storm closings.

And the professional politicians want the kids back in school early because they want the parents to forget about their kids and focus on their election campaigns which are longer than most summer vacations.

But I think the politicians should step in a save the children. Kids are a great campaign issue and standing up for the rights of children is always a winner in an election.

So is there a politician willing to stand up and force children to have fun next summer? Maybe come up with a formula that allows schools to close at the end of May and not reopen until after Labor Day in September?

It’s also about technology. Too many kids spend all their time inside their homes playing video games on their computers, iPads and laptops. Their Wii Systems and their PlayStation game systems.

It just all seems wrong.

I remember writing an essay for my 6th Grade teacher entitled “How I spent my Summer Vacation.”

It was filled with fun things that I did with my family. Some of it was travel. Some of it involved weekend trips. Some of it just involved hanging around and doing nothing.

If I were to dig through my old photos – remember them (everything is digital these days and there’s nothing to dig through) – I bet I could still find the handwritten two-page essay I wrote for my class. And I bet reading it would be the best thing I could read this summer, for sure.

Not a lot of kids will have that option because their summers are too short.

It just doesn’t seem fair that school children don’t really get to enjoy a full summer vacation.

I wish we could do something about that.

(Ray Hanania is an award winning former Chicago City Hall reporter and political columnist. Contact him at

This post has already been read 871 times!

Ray Hanania

Ray Hanania is an award winning former Chicago City Hall reporter and Columnist who began writing in 1975 when he published The Middle Eastern Voice newspaper in Chicago (1975-1977). He covered Chicago City Hall from 1976 through 1992 (Mayor Daley to Mayor Daley) and has expanded to writing for newspapers around the world focussed on Middle East and American politics.

Hanania loves to write about American Arabs in politics, and focuses on Arab life in America.

Currently, he writes weekly columns on Middle East and American Arab issues for the Arab News in Saudi Arabia at He writes on American politics for the Des Plaines Valley News, Southwest News-Herald, The Regional News newspaper and the Reporter Newspapers. He also writes for the online websites and (Illinois News Network at

Palestinian, American Arab and Christian, Hanania’s parents originate from Jerusalem and Bethlehem. Hanania began in journalism as an activist publishing Chicago’s first English-language American Arab Newspaper “The Middle Eastern Voice” from 1975 through 1977. In 1976, he was hired by the Chicago community newspaper The Southtown Economist (Daily Southtown) and in 1985 was hired by the Chicago Sun-Times and covered Chicago City Hall for both. In 1993, he launched the “The Villager” Newspapers which covered 12 Southwest Chicagoland suburban regions. In 2004, he published “The National Arab American Times” monthly newspaper which was distributed through 12,500 Middle East ethnic food stores in 48 American States.

Hanania is the recipient of four (4) Chicago Headline Club “Peter Lisagor Awards” for Column writing. In November 2006, he was named “Best Ethnic American Columnist” by the New American Media;In 2009, he received the prestigious Sigma Delta Chi Award for Writing from the Society of Professional Journalists. He is the recipient of the MT Mehdi Courage in Journalism Award. Hanania has also received two (2) Chicago Stick-o-Type awards from the Chicago Newspaper Guild, and in 1990 was nominated by the Chicago Sun-Times for a Pulitzer Prize for his four-part series on the Palestinian Intifada.

Hanania’s writings have been published in newspapers around the world. Formerly syndicated by Creators Syndicate, Hanania also has written news, features and Opinion Columns for Al Jazeera English, the Jerusalem Post,, Arab News, Saudi Gazette, Newsday in New York, the Orlando Sentinel, the Houston Chronicle, The Daily Star, the News of the World, the Daily Yomimuri in Tokyo, Chicago Magazine, the Arlington Heights Daily Herald, and Aramco Magazine. His political columns are published in the Southwest News-Herald and Des Plaines Valley News, Regional News and Palos Reporter newspapers in Chicagoland. Hanania is the President/CEO of Urban Strategies Group media and public affairs consulting which has clients in Illinois, Florida, Michigan and Washington D.C.

Hanania is Palestinian Christian from prominent Bethlehem and Jerusalem families. His wife and son are Jewish and he performs standup comedy lampooning Arab-Jewish relations, advocating for peace based on non-violence, mutual recognition and Two-States.

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