June is arguably the best month of summer for Dallasites: light and cool enough to sit outside, relaxed enough for the kids to stay up a little later, and paced a little less frenzied.
Sure, working parents still have to come up with activities and childcare, but it’s easier to find older kids to help with driving and sitting.
It’s a great time for everyone to have a little fun and bring a little joy in routines. Vacation plans are revving up.
While visiting my 4-year-old grandson, I was reminded of what that looked like. He was rolling sand into balls and using a spatula as a lever to hurl them at his pile of cars while laughing exuberantly.
As I pushed him fast and high on the swings, he screamed out with laughter, “This is the BEST day ever!”
I asked him later where he got the idea to use a spatula as a catapult, and he chuckled, “It just boinked into my brain!”
Wow. Adults see a spatula for flipping pancakes; tots see a world of possibilities. With dead Christmas trees, grownups think “bulk trash,” while children think forts. Oh to recapture the fun, the joy of playing as a child.
Author and commentator, David Brooks, in his new book, The Second Mountain: The Quest For A Moral Life, delineates five levels of joy.
The obvious first is physical. The second he sees as communal such as dancing or a celebration after a project is completed. Emotional is his third level, which may involve tears: a mother gazing at her newborn, the birth of a new puppy.
An even higher level of joy is spiritual. This he calls the enchantment of a mystical force; some call it God, others Nature, whatever connects to the universe.
Finally, he comes to moral as the highest level of joy that not everyone ever experiences.
Perplexed, I delved on to how Brooks describes this joy: the peace and contentment that comes when an examined life discovers his or her true purpose in life. It always involves a deep and loving commitment and permeates daily living. These people shine. They have a moral elevation.
So this summer, turn off social media, look at your life, and seek that shine that involves more than time in the sun. Hopefully, it will start with a “boink” in the brain.
Len Bourland can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org