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Summer? What summer?
By 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.
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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 firstname.lastname@example.org.)
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"I write about three topics, the Middle East, politics and life in general. I often take my life experiences and offer them in an entertaining way to readers, and I take on the toughest topics like the Israel-Palestine conflict and don't pull any punches about what I feel is fair. But, my priority is always about writing the good story."
Hanania covered Chicago Politics and Chicago City Hall from 1976 through 1992. Hanania began writing in 1975 when he published The Middle Eastern Voice newspaper in Chicago (1975-1977). He later published “The National Arab American Times” newspaper which was distributed through 12,500 Middle East food stores in 48 American States (2004-2007).
Hanania writes weekly columns on Middle East and American Arab issues for the Arab News in Saudi Arabia at www.ArabNews.com, and at www.TheArabDailyNews.com, www.TheDailyHookah.com and at SuburbanChicagoland.com. He has also published weekly columns in the Jerusalem Post newspaper, YNetNews.com, Newsday Newspaper in New York, the Orlando Sentinel Newspapers, and the Arlington Heights Daily Herald.
Palestinian, American Arab and Christian, Hanania’s parents originate from Jerusalem and Bethlehem.
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, Hanania 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. He was honored for his writing skills with two (2) Chicago Stick-o-Type awards from the Chicago Newspaper Guild. In 1990, Hanania was nominated by the Chicago Sun-Times editors for a Pulitzer Prize for his four-part series on the Palestinian Intifada.
His writings have also been honored by two national Awards from ADC for his writing, and from the National Arab American Journalists Association.
The managing editor of Suburban Chicagoland Online News website www.SuburbanChicagoland.com, Hanania's columns also appear in the Southwest News Newspaper Group of 8 newspapers.
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