We often think things were simpler when we were kids.
When you hear that song that takes you back to a certain feeling and a certain moment in time, where you can see the room or you can see the girl, it brings you back to a time when the greens and the reds and the blues are Kodachrome.
Kids are now on summer vacation. Do you remember the week before summer vacation? Do you remember what that felt like? Do you remember just sitting in the classroom and looking outside and everything was winding down and you just knew, "I'm finished, and summer is here."
And then at the end of summer, the anticipation of new school clothes. I remember the new pencils and pens for school. In the summer, friends playing until the sun went down and the slam of the front porch screen door as you were running out to join them.
Summers were a time of discovery. The girl, the girl you kissed for the first time, or the girl you wanted to kiss for the first time. Your first love.
I thought about this a lot last week while I was on vacation with my kids, and again this week because of the serial we're running about Ronald Reagan. Last week, the kids were outside playing, and I said to my wife, "Oh, if I could just go back to those days when we were kids, they were better and they were simpler." But they weren't. They really weren't.
It's that we were kids.
If our parents were doing their job, they protected us from all of the scary things out in the world.
There's a difference between the perspective of a kid and the perspective of somebody who's now done it for 40 or 50 years. I don't know about you, but I never expected to live past 30. I didn't think there was life after 30. You just became old.
You could do anything when you were a kid. Your whole world was ahead of you. Everything you thought of was, "It's not going to be like that when I'm in charge. I'm not going to be a parent like that, or I'm not going to go to the office like that." And nothing would stand in your way because you didn't really understand what the world was really like. And by the time you hit 40 or 50 or 60, you're pretty worn down. And if you're not lucky, you haven't realized it along the way, that it is all in your attitude.
"Come to me like a child," really means come to me still asking: "Why? How? How does that work?" Still looking at things with wonder.
Today, my daughter is going to have my second grandchild. And I thought an awful lot about when I was about to have my second child and how afraid I was to have my second child. Because there's no way I could love this child as much as I love my first child. There's no way. And I don't want to have favorites. And, man, one is one, two is 20. How are we going to do that? I'm never going to sleep again.
Now that I'm on the other side of it, I know all of that was nonsense.
Last week, when I was on vacation, Cheyenne came to me Wednesday or Thursday. And for the first time in a few days, the email and the internet was on. An email downloaded (we couldn't get online because we were up in the mountains). And she said, "Dad, I've downloaded the news. I want to read it to you." And I said, "No, no, no, no, honey." She said, "Why? Don't you want to know what's going on?" And my answer was less than 100 percent true. I said, "You know, honey, Daddy sees it every day, and nothing really changes, and I'll see it when I get home."
The rest of the truth was more simple than that: I didn't want her to see what was happening today around the world. I wanted her to live in summer.
As crazy as the world is and as hard as it might be for us to believe, our children are going to remember this summer as one of the best summers of their life. They're going to discover all those things that we did --- if we do our job right.
I found a picture of me. I posted it online last week. It was 1970. I was six years old. And it was of me on this rusty boat that was on the coast of Washington State --- this little, teeny boat, all rusted out and it made kind of a place where kids could climb on it. And I had my dog, my collie, his name was Prince. This picture was from a little town on the water, just about 40 minutes from our house in Mount Vernon, Washington. And we rented a little cabin a few blocks away from the beach, and it was a very rare vacation for us. But this picture came from a time when it was printed on the side, and it said, "July 1970."
I remember that boat. And I remember this being a magical summer. We didn't go on vacation very much because my dad was always working. And I knew we didn't have a lot of money, but what I didn't know, summer of 1970, was my dad's business was failing. My dad's business was really struggling. What I didn't know that summer of 1970 was that a really nasty war was going on. What I didn't know was the year before we had riots in the streets. In the last two years before that summer of me on the boat, Martin Luther King was shot. Malcolm X was killed. RFK was killed. The world was on fire. Cities were burning to the ground. The Weather Underground was full-action. Nixon and Watergate were just around the corner.
But there I was on my boat. I was a child, and I was doing my job. I was doing childish things.
For that one week in that summer of 1970, I remember it. Me and my dog, we were on that ship. And we fought the pirates, we explored the world, sailed the Seven Seas, just a boy and his dog, just as it should be, in the summer.
Featured Image: Glenn and his dog in 1970