National Coloring Book Day
August 1, 2019

National Coloring Book DayMany of you have been waiting for my August blog: I have chosen musings on my birthday, August 2nd, which incidentally is National Coloring Book Day.   While I very much enjoy being a “summer baby,” it is interesting that National Coloring Book Day is also celebrated in the summer.

I have found that coloring books provide a metaphor in many areas of life.

One may think about John Mayer’s song dealing with “staying in the lines.”  This would imply that a child or other person coloring would be a conformist since he does not color outside the lines.  Does this imply that someone is more creative if he does not use coloring books?

Additionally, I notice that while many people only associate coloring books with small children, you can visit any retail book store and find many adult coloring books.  This is interesting on several levels:

  1. Is this a way for adults to relive their childhood?
  2. Is this a reflection on a simpler time when people did not rely so extensively on electronic media? You could take time to find pleasure in an activity that not only provided pleasure, but also some level of creativity (even if limited by the lines.)

The creativity is still available because you get to decide what colors to fill in the lines.  Interestingly, many adult coloring books use colored pencils so that you can create much more vivid, almost stain-glass quality colored pages rather than the crayons that we associate with children.

Other musings that I have on coloring books is that many children in today’s world seem to be very limited by their parents or their own personal schedules.  I currently talk to other older adults (around my age) who indicate that when they were children, they had a great deal of unsupervised time.  This is a very different situation from today’s world.  Most children’s parents arrange “play dates,” or they have very structured activities like sports, music, etc.

Additionally, children are very structured in their summer activities because many of them have camp experiences and other situations where they are supervised by young adults or other professionals.  I think of basketball camps and other summer camps that involve structured activity and learning, including various sports, music or arts.

When I was a kid, I recall very fondly my mother dismissing me in mid-morning and telling me it was perfectly acceptable not to return until dinner time.  I usually did not make it that long since I would come back in mid-day for a peanut butter sandwich.  Many times, I would spend time playing in the creek, going swimming, riding bikes with my friends or other summer activities.  It was just a simpler time.  Our parents thought that we were safe and they seemed to be perfectly fine with us going about our day.  This has the same sort of association to me as the simplicity of coloring books.

Instead of spending time on the cell phone or video games, I can think of sitting on a back porch listening to the rain during a thunderstorm coloring in a coloring book because I could not play outside.  Again, it was a very relaxing experience.  Not only was the coloring book activity something to fill time, but you could also watch the lightning and feel a part of nature while it rained.  There is nothing better than summer rain.  Not only does it cool the atmosphere, but it also causes great summertime smells, especially after cut grass or freshly mown hay in the country.  All in all, I am very happy with life in 2019, but I can also recall that growing up in the 1960’s was better.

One final note.  If you are old enough to remember, it is difficult to translate to today’s children what a fountain milkshake, fountain soda or hot fudge sundae were like at your average Five-and Ten.  Unlike prepared products that McDonald’s and other fast food outlets have, these truly were works of art.  Not only did you have flavored, syrupy Cokes, but genuine ice cream with not only truly hot fudge, but also very rich vanilla ice cream with lots of Hershey syrup, making a very good Mixmaster milkshake (with an aluminum can that had a second serving) that is  hard to describe to today’s youth.  But, it was just much better!

So, please enjoy the rest of your summer.  I hope you get time to color in your coloring books and enjoy a nice quiet evening with a summer rainstorm.  I hope to hear from some of you, and I look forward to getting back to work on blogs and other things after a relaxing beach vacation.   Steven P. Miner of Daley Zucker.

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