He returned to the tedious task of shoveling a small mountain of sand into a bin—after helping me load some boards into my vehicle.
He was a high school student on his summer job at a home improvement store. On such a hot day I felt sorry for him. What a tough, dirty job! Yet, thinking about it, I admired him for the decisions he must have made.
He wasn't just earning some money—he was making himself into a better person.
Summer in the north
Summer is well along in North America, and most Vertical Thought readers have been out of school for weeks. What have you been doing with the extra time? Becoming better acquainted with your Xbox, exploring daytime programming on cable stations and developing a suntan are understandable pastimes at first, but summer break is an opportunity to do so much more.
While school is in session, we have so many time demands that we have relatively few choices to make. For many, though, summer provides the chance to decide for ourselves how to spend our time.
Things to do—and read
If you haven't already done so, how about tackling some activities that are different from your normal routine?
- Get a summer job or try some educational experiences.
- Visit museums that are inexpensive or free. It's surprising how interesting they can be when you go there by choice, rather than on a school field trip.
- Read the books that summer also provides time for. I had heard people refer to Tom Sawyer and Treasure Island for years, and when I finally decided to sit down and read them, I felt like I had finally caught up with the rest of the world.
Summer break also gives you time for the experience of using tools and making things with your own hands. Would it be fun to have a go-kart, a tree house or a model rocket?
Store-bought items may look flashier, but building things yourself is better and more fun. I have enjoyed surveying The Dangerous Book for Boys by Conn and Hal Iggulden. Not just for young boys, it is just one of many books that can guide you through projects that will make this an unforgettable summer. And there's a similar book for girls: The Daring Book for Girls by Andrea Buchanan and Miriam Peskowitz.
Important things to do—and read
The important thing is that we have opportunities to make choices every day about how we'll spend our time and energy. There is time left yet before summer break is over. Don't be fooled, though, by those who might tell you that one choice is as good as another.
The God who made the universe provides abundant how-to instructions in the Bible about doing right and avoiding wrong. Parts of it, especially the book of Proverbs, show that young people can make good use of their time—but can also come to harm from making bad choices.
The book of Proverbs advises us to educate ourselves while we're young. It says that sleeping when there is work to be done is shameful, but doing the work pays off. It also warns that hanging out with people looking for trouble will bring suffering, but good, honest friends are a great blessing.
Along with Proverbs, you might want to add What Is Your Destiny? to your summer reading. Summer is a time for choices. Let's make some good ones! VT