So my 11 year old daughter went to camp yesterday for the first time. I dropped her off yesterday morning and I will pick her up on Thursday evening. She went with a group of kids from her school known as COG (Children of God). There are 75 kids that will be enjoying some good old fashioned fun, with no electronics! Staying away from home when your younger makes you feel independent and in return it helps you grow.
In the last few years, I’ve read a couple of books that have really changed my mind about some of my parenting ideas. Not to mention the fact that I have a son who is 24. So this ain’t my first rodeo. “How To Raise An Adult”, and “The Conscious Parent” are real eye openers.
So my child is going into middle school this year. It’s 6th grade. I’m going to let her pack herself for camp. This is clearly something she is capable of doing, but that I think I can do better myself (not about me, conscious thought). Of course, if I’m serving her, then I feel needed. So in the process of getting my needs met, I’m sending her a message that I actually don’t want to send. My message says that she can’t do anything without my help. It says that she’s incapable of doing these things right, or to my satisfaction. It says, “I will just do it because I love you.” and love equals doing, right? The old me, yes! The newer me, no! What if love equaled not doing? What if it meant teaching your kids to do everything on their own? What if it meant you worked yourself right out of being needed? No, this does not mean abandon them, but it does mean that you question your motives and beliefs the next time your making choices about your parenting.
So we’ve read the paper together and clearly it says bring your own bedding, pillows and towels. She thinks she only needs one blanket. I talk her into taking a sheet to lay on and she packs it along with this one little blanket. Fast forward to the morning, she has talked to some friends who say nope, she doesn’t need a sheet. At this point I’m like, “Ok, whatever.” I probably already said more than I should have. It’s her choice, it’s her lesson and it’s her consequence. I mean seriously, I need to get out of my own head. You see, sometimes in the middle of being present and trying to change, you revert back to your old beliefs because they are safe.
Is it really going to be the end of the world if she sleeps on a plastic bag? I don’t think so. She went and picked out a bed while I checked her in. Later, she took me to see it. Sure enough there was no sheet. There was a plastic cover on the mattress and then her little blanket on top. I bet you next year she remembers her sleeping experience and she takes a sheet with her. Then again, maybe not. Perhaps she won’t care one way or the other about that bed.
You see, I removed myself from the misconception that I’m a bad mom because she doesn’t have a sheet. I almost let that fear dictate my actions. It’s ok if your reading this and it’s not for you, I totally understand. I don’t judge you. I am writing this for those who might relate to this story. Sometimes in life you will find that if you challenge your beliefs, they might not really hold up or even be true.
They also said that you should bring a sweatshirt or jacket in case it gets cold. My child chose not to do this as well. I’m almost positive she forgot to take a towel also. I can’t be sure of this one until I pick her up, but we shall see. In the end, her first camp experience will be memorable in many ways. I am guessing when I pick her up, she won’t be the exact same girl that I dropped off.
I view this as a good thing. Here’s to a summer of growth and learning, of practicing and developing, and of laughing and loving.