To Facetime or not to Facetime. That is the question.
On one hand, it feels great to check in with those you love. Following a year of parent/child togetherness, during a camp season without Visiting Day, it feels especially appropriate to at least have a five-minute chat once every 10 days. The kids enjoy showing off their friends and their Skylemar home, and parents love seeing that great big smile.
That is, if he’s smiling. Every once in a while, a call can be tough. There could be 50 great things in a day, but when one goes awry (someone was “mean”, “annoying” or “I struck out at baseball”), the call can go awry too. We want our children to tell us everything and anything, and sometimes we get what we ask for.
We know for sure that Skylemar is more important for a boy than ever before. Being here means the opportunity to make two hundred friends, to take safe chances, to play sports and games from 7 to 7, to feel relaxed and not pressured. Here you get lots of high-fives and hugs from college guys who are a whole lot cooler than “real grownups”. On the other hand, being at camp also means that you’ll probably find someone in your cabin to be annoying. It means getting upset when someone hurts your feelings. It means missing mom or dad.
As parents, we strive to get everything “just right” for our kids. We find the right school, the right rec league and certainly the right summer camp. We strategize with other parents about how to get him in the right class, on the right team and yes, in the right bunk.
But think about this: Perhaps in our efforts to get things so perfect, kids aren’t learning what to do when things aren’t just right.
You’ve heard this theory before. The psychologists call it “resilience”. At Skylemar, we call it “bounce-back-ability” and “making the most of hand you’re dealt”.
So what about those Facetime calls?
If your son sounds great and everything’s going his way, maybe ask him what he’s done for others, what he did right when nobody was looking or how did he make someone smile.
If he sounds sad or upset while explaining a situation, maybe try asking, “So what do you think you can do about it?”, “how did you handle it?”, “which grownup did you talk to?” or “what did you do instead?” If he says, “I don’t know”, then help him with choices.
Today a parent asked their son, “What did you do in the rain?” The boy said, “nothing”. The exhausted counselors in the room had to laugh, for this was our rainy day schedule:
Cubs and Stars (youngest and oldest) had the Great Bake & Build Challenge. Dr. Jeff has encouraged us now to “wrap” those who are unvaccinated with those who are, so today we matched groups accordingly. Some of the “bigs” helped the “littles” with Gingerbread Bunk Decorating, while others got on the floor to build structures from the biggest pile of LEGOs the boys had ever seen.
The Freshmen had “Card Sharks”, which is a game show played under the Pavilion. Sophomores had games in the gym, while Tigers played ping pong, pool and foosball. Juniors had Paparazzi and board games, while the Seniors had Chilltop and Chocolate Factory.
And that was just the first hour. There were four periods of activities like the above. Meanwhile, piles of board games were delivered to cabins for “Bunk Time”.
Indoor Campfire for Evening Activity. We sang “Boom Chicka Boom”, “Aristishaw” and “Chicken Fry”. There were funny skits including “The Dating Game” between those dressed up like our camp dogs Moose, Trix, Cubbie, Finn and Summit.
Oh yeah… make-your-own sundaes for 400 this afternoon.
Take that, tropical storm Elsa!