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Sue's Views -- A debt owed to those who help kids

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opinion Morris, 56267

Morris Minnesota 607 Pacific Avenue 56267

If I seem a bit jittery this week, it's because I'm not getting a full night's rest.

No, there is nothing wrong, although I could cut back on the caffeine. I just don't want to waste any of this week sleeping. You see, this may be one of the best weeks of summer.

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Why? Because for one of those rare moments of the season, I don't have to spend more of my work day than I like fielding phone calls from home.

Quite honestly, my cynical side has suggested that summer was invented by the cell phone companies so they can upgrade you to an unlimited calling plan.

Here's some of the classics:

"No, you cannot use your sister for target practice."

"Locking the dog in your room is not the same as vacuuming. Let him out and start cleaning."

"No, you can't use ice cream instead of milk on your cereal."

Parents with grown children assure me that this too shall pass.

I have my doubts. Which is why this week is too good to sleep through.

On Sunday, my son, who is 13, took off for Camp Wilderness by Emmaville, and is earning some of the merit badges he needs to become an Eagle Scout.

My 10 year-old daughter is riding her bike to and from the fairgrounds to participate in a Community Education program, followed by lunch with Mom and the rest of the afternoon in a licensed school-age child care program.

It is a beautiful week. I had a similarly relaxing week when my daughter attended the Salvation Army camp earlier this summer.

But these are uncommon weeks in the summer. More commonly, families, including my own, rely on a patchwork system of family, phone calls, the Transit, computers, Community Ed classes, the Regional Fitness Center, a public library, microwave mac-and-cheese and prayer to keep children safe from morning until quitting time.

This is not a new issue for parents or for the community. Soon, it will be September and the problem of what to do with our children over the summer will be a worry for later.

There are those individuals who are giving their all, both in their professional and their personal lives, to help children and families fill their summer days. Many thanks to those Scout leaders, coaches, volunteers and other folks who give their time and talents to our children, not just in the summer but throughout the year. My family is better off because of your efforts.

But I have to wonder, are the rest of us giving our children our best effort in making their summers safe and interesting?

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