A Good Disconnect

When I was growing up, kids didn’t have the constant electronic tether to their parents that they do today.  It caused the inevitable problems of course – for instance, never knowing where my brother was at dinner time (and having to call everyone in the neighborhood to find out), going to the wrong mall entrance to get picked up and missing our mom, not knowing when she’d get there to pick us up, etc.

So as our own kids grew up, we figured that more frequent communication – via cell phone and later, also through text messages – would be a good thing.  We’d know where our kids were.  We’d know when they were coming home and they’d know when we were going to pick them up from school.  All good, right?

I suppose it has been good – I do like knowing where my kids are (or thinking I know where they are).  And it’s good to communicate with them regardless of their whereabouts. And of course, it’s amazing to be able to talk with my kids when they’re away from town and to Skype with our sophomore in college.

But through all of this, it’s also clear that my kids cherish their independence, and they need a long tether, not a short one so they can grow.

And so it is with summer camp. Summer camp provides a unique opportunity for our kids to be on their own – in a safe environment.  It’s really the best of all worlds – we parents know that our kids are well-cared for, and our kids get to grow and gain independence that will help them to mature into confident adults.

Sure, camps let us send emails, letters and packages to campers. And they post pictures of campers online (which is guaranteed to be good news for some other picture-friendly camper’s parents, but never you, since your own kid is guaranteed to be MIA). But it’s not really about us anyways. Camp exists for kids, not their parents.

So for us parents, it means adjusting to something far less than the anywhere, anytime communication we experience with our kids during the school year.  Which is probably fine since I’m not sure our kids would answer the phone even if we did call!

Further Reading


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