Camp!

Camp! February 21, 2013

“Ezra! Slow down and wait for Daddy!”

I shouted into the wind, hoping to stop Ezra from racing up a steep cliff that, to my eyes, looked dangerous.  To Ezra’s eyes, it looked “AWESOME!”

“It’s okay, Zach.  You can go up higher.  Why don’t you try that path on the left?”

Zach was definitely NOT going to follow Ezra up that scary pass.  If he had his druthers, we’d all head back to the car before anyone got hurt.

Nafisa, happy to go up any pass if we all wanted to do it, preferred to hang back and take pictures.  She had planned out her outfits for the trip, with matching headbands, scarfs, and shoes.  A trip to the desert would not be nearly as much fun if there weren’t great pictures of it to post on Instagram.

Parenting these three children, with different temperaments, genders, and ages, is a juggling act of pushing, pulling, and praying.

Getting that the juggling act just right consumes a lot of my time.  Too much time.  I have no doubt about that; but I am not sure how to stop myself.  What are you supposed to do when you homeschool, teach Sunday school, and have too many education degrees?  I like reading about parenting.  I like writing about parenting.  Even as I pour all my parenting energies into avoiding helicopter parenting, I am aware of the irony.  Still, no aspect of our children’s lives escapes my thoughtful gaze.

Enter camp. Sleep-away camp.  According to Michael Thompson in his book Homesick and Happy, today’s children, over-protected and over-parented, need camp more than ever.  I began the book quite skeptical.  Surely the answer to all that is wrong with today’s American youth cannot be camp.  If so, what’s to become of all of the children whose families can’t afford the outrageous price of camp.  By the end of the book, though, I was so moved by his argument that Jeff and I began to look for camps.  This summer, for two weeks, my children will get a break from my pushing and pulling.  Instead, because the thought of them hanging out in the woods with knives, lakes, rope swings and young adult counselors makes my stomach queasy, I’ll pour my manic parenting energy into extra doses of prayer – which in the end may be the biggest benefit of camp.

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Over the next few posts, I’ll share more of Thompson’s logic for camp, and you can write in to let me know what you think.  To get us started, I’d like to pose a question that Thompson asks his audiences when he travels around the country talking to parents.  

What was the sweetest moment of your childhood?  (He reminds his audience not to dissect the question, but to just let their minds wander, confident that a scene will come to mind.)  So, what your sweetest memory?


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