As parents we want to raise our children to be motivated, self-confident, mature and responsible individuals. Every mom and dad strives to reach this goal.
Being a mother of Nika, 7 and Tyler, 5, sometimes I get anxious thinking about the challenges and complexities they have to face as they grow. We live in a fast-changing world different from the world we lived and grew up in as children. School, activities, internet/television overload, peer pressure, SOLs and SATs are just some of the many pressures children have to deal with in their everyday lives.
As parents do we help them deal with this complex world or do we add more intensity to their lives?I just came back from Denver, CO where the American Camp Association celebrated its 100th
anniversary. The theme for this year was “Because of Camp”. Every day I had the opportunity to meet amazing people and hear their life stories. First there was Luiz Benitez
who climbed Mount Everest including the expedition where he had to lead a blind climber. Luis told us how his camp experience and his career in the outdoors helped him reach his personal Everest.
Then there was a session with Mawi Asgedom
, who came to USA at a very young age as his family escaped genocide in Ethiopia. Mawi told us how people around him welcomed and helped him to adjust to a new life. Mawi graduated from Harvard University. He is an amazing motivational speaker who set a goal to work with youth and teach them to be successful and responsible citizens of the society.
I encourage all parents to check out the Camp Parents ACA website. I think that as children go to camp they get a unique opportunity to distress and be free from the constant pressures they deal with everyday. They play and laugh, make friendly connections, they learn living among real people not virtual video games, facebook, or you tube.My older daughter is 7 and I already feel like I have to plan my calendar around hers. One thing I know for sure is that when summer comes, she is going to camp, a safe and fun place where she can just rest and be accepted for who she is and not for who we want her to be. Camp can truly be simple but yet powerful and a low-pressure life and educational tool for our stressed children.
Last but not least, I also got to hear Foster Cline speak at the conference. Foster Cline, MD is an internationally recognized psychiatrist. He is a consultant to a lot of parents and school groups. One of his books is called Parenting with Love and Logic. What a great resource for parents. Make sure to read it and if you want to discuss the book I will be happy to do so with you, just drop me a line at firstname.lastname@example.org