Nervous About Summer Camp
As summer approached, many kids began talking about what camp they planned to attend. The excitement was growing with each passing week. One particular camp organization we heard a lot about showed up at our church to promote themselves. They put on a great program showcasing some fun activities as well as video clips from last summer’s fun. My daughter was all in! She begged me to sign her up saying, “MOM! PLEEASSSSE let me go! PLEEASSSSE!!! It’s going to be SOOO much fun!!! You HAVE to let me go! And all the spots are almost gone so you have to sign me up tonight!” Being the realist I am, I followed her begging ceremony with logic. I asked if she realized the camp was 5 days long. She said, “YES!” I reminded her it was overnight for 5 nights. She said, “YES! I know! PLEASE MOM!”
I must let you in on a very important detail; my daughter isn’t really a fan of overnighters. She isn’t clingy most of the time. She is quite extroverted and loves going places and hanging out with friends. She just doesn’t care for sleeping over. As you know, sleeping over is a big part of a week-long camp.
My realist talk continued, I would love for you to go to camp, but I can’t pay for camp and have you change your mind at the last-minute. If you commit to going then you will go. “YES, YES, YES! I want to go! I’ll be fine!” So we signed up for camp.
As camp week inched closer, she began to drop little comments like, “I’m not sure about camp.” And, “I don’t know if I can do this.” To which I replied, “I’ve already paid, and you said you could do it. If you cancel, you will lose camp this summer and you lose the opportunity to go to camp next summer. It’s up to you.” She continued to say, “I’m going!”
The night before camp I was frantically packing, labeling, and re-checking the supply list to be sure she had all she needed. We decided to have a sleepover in Mommy and Daddy’s bed as a fun send off. As I prepared to climb in bed with her, I noticed she was starting to cry. Admittedly, my first thought was “Great! She is going to try to back out.” I asked what was wrong and she said she was nervous. When I asked why she told me she was nervous about being away from me. Thankfully God gave me wonderful words of encouragement to share with her.
First I asked her to think back to the day she begged to go to camp and tell me what she remembered about it. She thought for a second then out came giggles and explanations of fun activity after fun activity. I simply participated in her memories. Then I reminded her of times she has been not only nervous but literally crying and having to be peeled off of me in new situations before. We talked about my personal favorite which is the first day of Kindergarten. She cried her little precious eyes out while the teacher held onto her as I left the room. (Then I cried all the way home.) After reminding her of the terrible fear, I said “That fear was totally warranted since Kindergarten was so terrible, right?!? I mean you hated your teacher and the class, right?!?” She burst out laughing because Kindergarten was an amazing experience for her. She completely LOVED it!!! We spent the next few minutes recalling other experiences where she was nervous in the beginning and how they had fabulous endings, then I told her this experience would be the same way; a little scary in the beginning, but totally worth the risk. We prayed and asked God for peace and thanked Him for always being there for us. We also celebrated the 365 verses in the Bible where God tells us not to be fearful. One for each day of the year.
She headed out to camp with a prayer, a smile, and a nervous little tear but I’m confident she will succeed because she knows she can trust God and she knows I am confident she is fine.
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Intentional Parenting Elements:
- Help kids walk through their doubts or concerns when seeking a solution.
- Equip kids with confidence based on past successes.
- Encourage dependence on our Almighty God not dependence on humans.
© 2011-2012 Tobi Florence and http://www.intentionalparenting.net