Sunday Snippet: The Satisfying Challenge of Camp!
Noted psychologist and former seventh grade teacher, Michael Thompson in his recently released book entitled Homesick and Happy: How Time Away from Parents Can Help a Child Grow suggests a seemingly conflicting paradigm that someone can be both homesick and happy at the same time. But he examines to whole concept of homesickness in the camp setting through a different lense, providing a positive perspective on the homesick experience. Hope you enjoy our thoughts today!
Homesickness is often consider a dreadful and painful condition – something we hope our children never experience. Yet at the same time, we are looking for our children to become confident and independent as they grow. Michael Thompson suggests that homesickness provides a unique and important critical for our campers to overcome making room for them to achieve greater confidence and independence. It is only natural that parents want their children to succeed and thrive, but in our quest to help them achieve we often eliminate the very obstacles that will encourage such growth. Consider the metaphor of how one must not interfere with the butterfly emerging from the coccoon, lest we risk damaging the wet, fragile wings – Perhaps we should examine where we can step away from managing the details of our childrens’ lives to allow them to fully extend their wings and fly!
When speaking to parents, Michael Thompson will often ask the question “What was the sweetest moment of your childhood?”. He will then survey the group and ask “Please raise your hand if your parents were present when that sweetest memory took place?” Generally 80% or more respond that their parents WERE NOT there when they had that sweet experience. Despite this shared experience, the prevailing consensus is that we as parents must be more and more present or influential in our childrens’ lives.
Thompson suggests that “there are several fundamental things that parents want to do for or give their children, but cannot”:
- We cannot make our children happy.
- We cannot give our children self-esteem.
- We cannot make friends for our children.
- We cannot successfully double as our child’s agent, manager or coach.
- We cannot keep our children perfectly safe, but we can drive them crazy trying.
- We cannot make our children independent
The WeHaKee experience is all about helping your daughter achieve these elements on her own. And although we are quite intentional at WeHaKee in providing each girl with a sense of belonging which in turn diminishes that feeling of homesickness, sometimes missing home is just what each girl needs to realize eventually experiencing the sense of success she feels when she survives and thrives at camp. Overcoming this challenge makes coming home all the more sweeter for both child and parent!
For those of you who have chosen to send your daughters to WeHaKee this summer, we applaud your understanding and your effective efforts to help your child grow more confident and independent. You realize that having fun and making lifelong friendships are a major part of going to camp, but that is secondary to the growth your child experiences in her heart as she discovers all she is capable of. Thank you allowing us to help you help her to grow into a confident, independent and exceptional young woman!
Have a great week everyone!