In seventh grade, I got a ‘C-‘ in English. It was half way through the year and our teacher, Mrs. Gritton, was kind to grade me that highly.
My writing was less than successful. I had no idea about punctuation. Wordly Wise served as a particular nemesis.
After working with a tutor and a vigilant mother, I think I got the grade up to a C+ by the end of the year. I muddled through English throughout my educational career. As for that pre-med semester in college… yikes.
These are memories I now try to keep fresh when our boys bring home their tests, quizzes, and report cards. Like their father, there are a few ‘A’s’ and a few ‘B’s.’ And, there have been a few ‘others’ that have drawn our ire.
However, after many conversations with my bride, personal reading, traveling and lot of soul searching, I’ve become more focused on the ‘effort’ and ‘citizenship’ scores and less concerned about the actual grades.
Rather than brow-beating (sorry, again, C3 for that bad math test experience a few years ago), I now spend more time thinking ‘let’s figure out what went wrong and learn from it.’ Most of the time.
No Prep Parenting
I want my kids to do better than I did. That’s a pretty common feeling with parents. After a conversation with my own parents about this, I realized that I was better at some things than they were. And, there are several areas in which I was not better. And those differences are not only ‘ok’, they are required to make the world more interesting and livable.
That’s the problem with parenting, isn’t it? There is no class to prepare you. No automatic download that springs into action when you bring your first child home. No updates that stream in for the second child, third child, etc.
(And that doesn’t even include ‘parenting’ their friends during the overnight parties!)
Some of our most important ‘parenting’ mentors outside of our family were camp people. Jancy and Bill Dorfman, the Toporoff men, Priscilla Griffin, Norbert Augier… they all shared a lot of wisdom as we started our own family.
Their knowledge had been tested at camp over many years and with thousands of kids and parents. They had taken the best of their experience and used it to inform their parenting. Thankfully, they all graciously passed this wisdom along to us.
Then, as camp directors ourselves, we got to watch and learn and test to come up what works best for our family.
Not everyone knows someone who has worked closely with thousands of parents and tens of thousands of kids. Thankfully, that can change very quickly.
Audrey Monke, the owner/director of https://goldarrowcamp.com/ and the brains behind Sunshine Parenting, has just put the finishing touches on a book that takes her incredible knowledge, deep research, and love for kids and parents and distills it into lessons we can all apply at home.
On May 7th, Happy Campers: 9 Summer Camp Secrets for Raising Kids Who Become Thriving Adults will be released on a number of websites.
I’ve had the opportunity to read an advance copy and it’s more than worth the money and time you put into it. Ideas like ‘connection before correction’, creating ‘realationships’, using positive communication and behavior management, one on one time, and treating everyone as important for the family are things we do at camp that are incredibly useful at home, too.
I hope you’ll take some time to listen to the great conversation I had with Audrey about Happy Campers. And, even more, I hope you’ll purchase the book!
(*Full disclosure: if you purchase the book through this blog post, you’ll be supporting SCOPE and Audrey. Campfire Conversation does not benefit in any way from the sales of the book… besides having a lot more families raising their kids the ‘camp way!’)