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De Parte del Maestro

By Josh Flores

Keys to a safe and productive summer
For most people, the end of the academic year is approaching. This means one thing…it’s summer time!  As an educator, I must admit that I look forward to summer as much as most of my students. 

The summer can provide a number of different opportunities. For myself, I get to spend more time with my daughter, travel, and get a little rest and relaxation. Over the course of the year, I have addressed a number of different topics related to everything from getting a job to personal health and fitness.

The summer is an ideal time to do all of those things that you may have wanted to do during the school, but just didn’t have the time, energy, and/or motivation. 

No more excuses
Now that you have that extra time, it is a perfect opportunity to accomplish some personal goals.  Let’s start there.  I like to start my summer by thinking about what I want to accomplish, in other words I set goals.  By setting goals, you will avoid the young person’s number one enemy—laziness

I’m not saying you are lazy, but the truth is when you find yourself with so much extra free time and nothing to do to occupy that time the end result is often that you will do nothing. Young people in the United States spend an average of twenty hours a week being inactive,…so you need a good summer game plan.

Stop making excuses and get busy.  Write down five to ten things you want to accomplish and set out to achieve them.  Here are some areas I suggest you use for setting your goals: fitness/exercise, money, travel, organization, volunteer, and academic. 

I love the summer because it allows me the time to do one of my favorite things…run.  I use to play a lot of basketball in the summer, but after three knee injuries and surgeries I have decided that the best thing (and safest) is for me to run in a straight line.  Running and walking are great exercises because you can do them anywhere and they don’t cost you anything but a lot of sweat and energy. In addition, the benefits are tremendous. You can get in shape, build stamina and energy, and it is great for your heart and lungs. Just remember to stay hydrated and don’t push yourself too hard; start slow and build yourself up. 

If you are not a runner or walker, then there are number of sports leagues that operate during the summer; contact your local recreation department to find out what is available.  You can also do something at home like yoga or an aerobic routine. Go to a local video store or library and you can often borrow exercise videos for free.

If you were not able to get a job this summer then you can become self-employed.  You can do things like babysit, mow lawns, wash cars, or just do odd jobs.  The idea is not becoming a millionaire though that would be nice; rather, you should just aim to get a little spending money to do things that you really want to do.  It is a good idea to develop a plan to determine how much you want to make.

Advertise your services by canvassing your neighborhood and making people aware of what you are available to do.  It is also a great idea to make a flyer if you have the money and resources.  Remember, the economy is tough so this summer may be a little tougher to earn what you might have wanted to.   

Unless you drive, this one may be a bit tough, especially with the high gas prices, but if you have the opportunity to travel then do it. Traveling is one of my passions and you can learn so much simply by being in a new environment.  In a worst-case scenario, you can hop on your bike and go to local metro parks. Check your local phone book for a list and location of parks near you.

I am sure you have heard the phrase spring cleaning—well, think summer cleaning.  I am sure that many of you are well organized and have clean rooms but I know that some of you are, well,…cochinos.  No offense but I have seen some teens’ rooms and it can be scary.  You will be amazed how much more efficiently you can operate when you are organized. Think about it—no more digging through dirty calcetines y chones to find your favorite shirt.  Not only will you feel better and operate more efficiently, but you will also make tus padres very happy.

In the past, I dedicated an entire article to the joys, importance, and benefits of volunteerism.  The summer is the perfect time to make it happen.  You can go to your local Boys and Girls Club, YMCA, hospital, or any other local church, or neighborhood center, to inquire about opportunities to volunteer.  Don’t forget that you can also help those around you.  Spend some quality time with your hermanitos, help out your abuelos, or un viejito en tu barrio.  Just do something.  The world would be better place if we all just did a little to help one another out.

Relax, calmate, tranquilo, I know it’s the summer and the last thing you want to think about is school.  I am simply suggesting that you read a book or two, prepare for the ACT or SAT or maybe write.  The thing I am advising against is letting your mind be dormant for the entire summer.

The last thing I want to address is the fact that summers can be very dangerous.  Statistics show that crime rates rise in the summer.  So be aware of your surroundings and avoid situations that may pose a problem for you.  I know that you want to have fun and you should, just make sure it isn’t the type of fun that is going get you in trouble with the law.  I have confidence that you will utilize good common sense to ensure that your summer is a great one.  ¡Hasta la próxima vez!

I would love to hear from you about my column please send me feedback or let me know if there is something you would like me to write about.  You can e-mail me at [email protected]. ¡Gracias por tu apoyo!






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