I'd like to start this column with an apology of sorts for the June edition of Family Matters.
I love the 4th of July but writing about fireworks and parades just wasn't in my heart this year. What I did feel in my heart was this "cute little story" as many have said about "Let Freedom Ring."
My apology is based on not providing a warning or a disclaimer such as "story to follow that I feel is what the 4th of July is all about" or something to that extent. To me, summer is over when July ends, so I hold that month more precious than others. By the time you've read this I'll have reached my 43rd birthday, not one to yell and shout about, but a year to learn by. From last July to this July, I've continued my education chasing the elusive Ph.D., which sadly takes away from family time and brings on guilt of what "matters" in my life.
Back in March, the 23rd to be specific, I severely injured my knee playing basketball and was given a six- to eight-month prognosis for recovery. I heard it all from "aren't you too old to play basketball?" and "Well, now you can give up that nonsense." Four months after the injury I still can't hop, skip, jump or run, but it has given me time to think.
My children will grow up even if I wasn't in school, I'll get older, my wife will get older, so why stop improving our lives even if for half of a year I'm unable to hop, skip and jump? Those who question my level of personal activity need to also look at my kids' activities. My youngest went to 4-H camp and will take some other 4-H trips this summer. My middle child went to Exploration Days with 4-H and was a counselor at 4-H camp, not to mention an active member of the Calumet Players. Lastly, my oldest was in Upward Bound and just returned from a week in New York; I'm jealous of them. My wife continues to be a Highland Dancer while I just plod along; no one is suffering.
While the kids were gone, camping was in order. The campground had Wi-Fi, so I was able to study while enjoying the ambiance of the campfire and campfire food. There's a term called work-life-balance which in its basic form means that a person has balance between their work and "life." The question for most is what is your "life?" For most families, life is about work, marriage and children. For me, life is about setting the example that education is important, that being involved in clubs and other organizations round out your life.
Mostly though, life is about having fun with your family whether it is camping, waterparks or simply watching the flames of a campfire dance the night away. I hope you liked the story and that your summer isn't over, that vacations are yet to come for you and yours. For me, once my knee is healed I'll be back to basketball, slowly back, but my work-life-balance includes work, family and selfishly a little me time on the court with a big orange ball.
Brian Foreman can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.