samedi, juillet 26, 2008

Middle Aged Deliquents

Mr. C is going to sleep-away camp for the first time this summer. His dad thinks it's past time. His mom knows she's going to cry buckets when we drop him off at the church-related camp about two hours away from here. But our boy doesn't seem a bit worried-it will be an experience, Mom, he said to me when I brought it up. Knowing this next step is about him, not about me, I listen carefully, but try not to say a lot. But if you read the article in today's NYT (linked above) you can see that for many parents, the going away camp experience really is all about them. They give their kids two cell phones so that when the camp takes away one, they will have an extra to call mom and dad. They "forget" to send up the medications their child routinely takes at home for ADHD or other disorders. They call every morning to ask how their child is doing. Sometimes it's hard to figure out who is the parent, and who the child. It's wonderful to be protective of your children. Many parents aren't nearly protective enough. They allow their kids to surf the Internet or spend hours alone watching television without making the effort to get out and throw a ball or go bowling, or do something that interrupts their own routine. But constant vigilance from afar makes sleep away camp an anxious experience, not only for the parent, but for the child. Is that really why we send our children away for a week or two? To make them more dependent on us? Or to help them find the inner resources to be strong and responsible when we aren't around to care for them? I won't be calling the camp to check up on Mr. C. But I am going to talk to the counselor about making sure he puts on his sunscreen, my freckle faced, fair skinned boy. Then I'm going to get into B's car, and cry-but only when I know he can't see me.

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