For the past two years, my kids have gone to sleepover camp during the summer.
I’m ashamed to admit that I’m one of those parents who towards the beginning of June start counting down the days until my kids leave for camp for three and a half weeks. I tell myself it’s an enriching and fun experience for them – and a guilt-laden holiday for me.
I busily plan my time – and life is [usually] eerily peaceful. However, things were different this year – 10-days into camp, I received a phone call from the Camp Director.
My daughter needs to speak to me. She’s desperately unhappy and wants to come home. He urges me not to allow her to come home – he promises that they’re making changes at the camp and I must trust him that things will improve.
I trusted him.
He was right things did improve. Had I listened to my daughter and my emotions, I would’ve brought her home immediately. And by doing so I would have risked her believing that she didn’t have the power to turn things around.
Instead, I decided to have faith in the Camp Director and my daughter. Turns out he was right. She had a memorable experience and is considering returning next year.
This experience taught me to:
- Trust the experts – give them an opportunity to shine. The Camp Director has been in that position for 16 years. He knows children better than I do.
- Take one day at a time. I took one day at a time and prayed that she would do the same – and that each day would be better than the previous one.
- Failure is part of life. It builds resilience and is important for personal growth. It also helps develop empathy in others.
- Persevere. The Camp Director said to me, “It’s easier to go home, but not the right reason to go home”. It’s easy to give up when the going gets tough – but DON’T do it (in most circumstances)!
- Be positive – look at the situation from a different perspective – think about what YOU can do to turn things around.
- Ask for help. If you need compassion – be open to receive it.
- Take control of the situation. Sometimes it’s simply your attitude that needs adjusting.
- Keep a journal and reflect on the good things that have happened at the end of each day.
Above all, as per Eric Idle’s song, Look on the Bright side of Life because I think he had a point. There is always a bright side; sometimes it just takes longer to emerge.
My daughter and I both grew this summer – and I know it is a summer we’ll both remember for years to come.