Yesterday I was out and about camp watching some league games, when I came across a chip newcomb game. For those of you who don’t know newcomb, it is just like volleyball, but you get to catch the ball instead of bump, set or spike. The game was being played in the sand volleyball court. When I looked down I noticed my son Tyler, who was playing ,was wearing socks.
Socks in the sand volleyball court!! My Mother instincts came bubbling up. “Tyler, why do you have your socks on! You are going to ruin your socks!” And then I stopped myself. If he has chosen to wear socks in the sand volleyball court, he has done it for a reason that makes sense to him, and so, I had to stop myself from being too much of a mother at camp.
Now I don’t want you to think that I don’t “mother” your children at camp, I do. I am the first to give a hug, or shed a tear because I am so proud of an accomplishment, but I have to know when to step back and watch them grow.
I want to see your child grow at camp. I want to see them become more responsible, more independent. I want them to learn to make choices that are right for them, and if that means wearing socks in the sandy volleyball court so be it. Letting them make that choice, and the many other choices they get to make while at camp, is what will foster that independence.
Here at camp the choices they get to make are safe ones. Campers choose if they want to change their shirt in the morning, what they want to eat, what clubs they will do. Sometimes they will wear two different shoes, or their shirt inside out, which at home we would probably never let them do, but here at camp that is their choice and they become individuals this way.
Sometimes they make a choice that doesn’t turnout so good, like not wearing bug spray, or forgetting a sweatshirt on a cool night. That may not seem like such a big deal, but they can feel the natural consequence of it and make the better choice next time.
It is sometimes hard for us as parents to let our child make choices for themselves. We always want to do what we think is best. But there is power in choice. Choices help us learn right from wrong, they help us become individuals, they foster independence. And there is no better (safer) place to learn from our choices then here at camp!
Gotta run, I am making a “choice” to get out and spend sometime with your kiddos:)