Last summer (blog August 2018) I wrote “take time to think as well as chill”. Yet, working with students and schools this year, I’ve realised that there isn’t time to think. What’s the point of a summer vacation? To recharge the batteries, a change of scene, or to stay at home and catch up on all the things that haven’t happened. The expectation that holiday / vacation is the ‘answer’ is deeply engrained.

Two books I’ve read this first half of the year spring to mind – Paul Dolan’s ‘Happy Ever After’ and John Zahl’s ‘Seculosity.’ They both ask what do we need to be happy and fulfilled. Both point out the comparisons that we make against others in a wish to be ‘better than …’

Lots of my colleagues right now are posting on Facebook about ‘making it through these last few weeks / days’, others are already posting pictures of ‘chilling’ somewhere. This is a chance to decompress before the inevitable wheel of time turns again and preparations begin for a new school year.

How about students? One of the things I’ve seen this year, even more so than others, is how busy so many students are. How are you supposed to think if you don’t have time? Scheduled to the minute with assignments due, exams to prep for, clubs or jobs to do, so much of this is related to ‘it’s good for my CV to get me into college to get a better job’. There seems to be little questioning of whether or not this is ‘good’ in the sense that this is something they want to do.

So what does summer time give you? It gives you time to ask ‘Why’ (blog October 2017). Until you stop and think and ask ‘why’, day to day living means you’re doing not thinking.

Do we over-commit for FOMO (fear of missing out?) Do we promise what we shouldn’t?

Rather than seeking to fill every minute of every day in what holiday you do take, spend a moment or two to think what you say ‘no’ to as well as ‘yes’ to when you start again. And I know that some have no choice – but if you’re doing that consciously and thinking of the ‘because’, you’ve answered the question why.

This summer take time to breathe, to smell the roses, to be with family and friends. Let your brain go into ‘idle’. It needs to refresh to give you time to think.