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Letter from The Publisher

Peggy Malecki

It’s midsummer, and through my open office window, I can hear the cicadas buzzing their occasional chorus, a wave of sound that crescendos through the trees, the rise and fall of their songs marking the progress of the season.

As I listen, I think back to my memories of Chicago childhood summers. My parents and grandparents firmly believed in the TV off button, and I was strongly encouraged to go outdoors every day. Their daily nudge to get outside throughout the summer has had a lasting impact on my life, and it’s something for which I am beyond grateful.

Many hours were spent playing outside with friends until the street lights came on, riding bikes, tossing a Frisbee, jumping rope and having fun. I was (and am) an avid reader, and summer was the time to read for fun. I’d take library books out on summer loan and spend hours on the front steps following the adventures of Nancy Drew and Trixie Belden, working my way through the many volumes in the Oz series and reading the Louisa May Alcott classics.

I was fortunate to spend a large portion of summer vacations with my grandparents in Antioch, where daily activities with them took on a slower pace. Those who follow my letter each month have read tales of a younger me helping in their vegetable garden, swimming in the small lake and spending evenings at the kitchen table, listening to nighttime insects through the window screens. Back in the city, my folks also had a garden, as did my other grandmother. Weeding, watering, watching the bees, deadheading and picking veggies were daily activities, and my parents and grandparents encouraged me to participate regularly.

In this month’s issue of Natural Awakenings, we focus on approaches to de-stressing parenting and explore some ways to build deeper connections with the children in our lives, both in the summer and throughout the year. Author Deborah Shouse offers us tips on heart-strong parenting in our main article, aptly titled “Simplified Parenting.” In our Wise Words department, Northbrook life coach Sarah Karnes discusses ways to balance parenting with our own self-care. And local writer Sheryl DeVore helps us to explore the outdoors with ideas for free, family-friendly day trips.

We hope you enjoy a fun-filled and meaningful last month of summer! Turn off the TV and computer (they’ll be there all winter), enjoy the festivals, take a walk in the park, go to the beach, watch the bees, try a new veggie from the farmers’ market, share your childhood memories with your children and nieces and nephews—and savor every delicious moment of August!

Here’s to a great rest of the summer!