I’m a huge believer in summer camp, and not just because s’mores are my favorite dessert. Some of my best childhood memories were formed at camp, and I now get the huge pleasure of seeing my own boys experience adventure and independence away from home. Thanks to Cliff B., for sending me this Slate article about the magic of camp – I loved it, and hope you do too! The writer, John Dickerson, talks about how his “daughter went away to camp and changed.” I wanted to share an excerpt from the article, but urge you to read it all…it’s a summer gem! Dickerson writes…
- The best moments of childhood—the memories that stay with you into adulthood—are ones where your parents aren’t there. They are moments you experienced truly for yourself. In Homesick and Happy, Michael Thompson writes about a study where people were asked about their happiest childhood memory; more than 80 percent name a parent-free moment. Thompson explains that kids are better off when they accomplish something without having to think about how their parents would view it. Those memories are also more indelible. The self-confidence that comes from that accomplishment sticks better because it is completely earned.
- So, as a parent you should want to push your kids out of your space to where they can rack up these 80 percent experiences—to explore, take risks, and try new identities. We are not invited, which is a paper-cut echo of the truth at the heart of parenting: You’re doing it best when you’re teaching them to leave you. Camp is an intensive course in how your children can do this successfully. “You step away from the care of your mom and dad into the world of independence. And that’s your job in life. Every one of you accomplished steps in that direction,” said the Girls Camp director at the final-night campfire. To signify the change they’ve made, girls throw crystals into the fire, which explode like Floo Powder in flashes of color.
Here are some links to MomTini camp headlines that may help you make your camper’s experience sweet, and one of my favorite tools, a “questionnaire” you can send for your little one to return to you, if you’re not getting long letters and want more info! Enjoy, and happy camping!
- Free camp questionnaire you can customize
- Creative ways to stay in touch
- Free customizable stationery – see pink box, “MomTini Resources”
- Prescription for Homesick kids