Yes, my oldest daughter text messages, posts, and video shows. Yes, she is acutely concious of when it is “time” to renew the wardrobe with a few new pieces from the best and newest fashion trends. Yes, she often rolls her sight at my “weird” behaviors. And yes, friends are at the highest of her sharing list these days.
She went on to give the case study of seeing quite clearly that she doesn’t will need to go anywhere specific (camp), do anything special (canoe) or be anything numerous (a camper) to look and feel authentic, open, connected and free. While she definitely views camp as a benefit, she knows that the girl with enough just as she is with or without camp to help you remind her of that internal knowing.
Even though we encouraged all of our kids to try overnight camp at least once, we have told her that decision to return is now totally up to her. As that discussion ensued, I started to be almost mesmerized by the woman’s capacity to articulate the girl’s vantage point on the subject.
While some parents drive status, monetary reward and upward societal movement for a children–none of which are bad per say–beyond those outside walls pursuits, my deepest heart’s desire for mine can be voiced most succinctly through Shakespeare, “To thine own do it yourself be true. ” EnLIGHTenment at its best.
She assured me that she was not “knocking” camp in any way and may choose to return, but if she does go back to get another year or three, it would not be because the camp experience allows the woman’s to feel more authentic in any way. Her return may be based on the conscious, singular (soul) choice to attend since she enJOYs the experience not because it is a “safe” place to be herself fully on the earth.
I was truly amazed by her expression in deep wisdom that has taken many of us divorces, health diseases, and endless searches through different veins of the exterior world to figure out. What my own dear girl was announcing through the example of summer camp–one of any likely outer examples–probably resonates with most of us when looked at tightly.
Indeed, a typical adolescent in so many ways, EXCEPT for underneath the North Face coat and the Ugg boots, behind the gaggle of giddy girlfriends and the fluorescent video display, and even beyond our sexual family discussions and shared dinners, there lies some self-awareness and interior starting that seems unfathomable for the child her age.
We do not need to go anywhere special or do something intriguing to live our own truth. In other words, freedom to be comfortable in this own skin should not be saved for places that we check out three weeks a year. Self-Love can be cultivated in all ways, always.
She even voiced that the songs about sisterhood, respect, and caring, various with a “free to be you” theme, seemed a bit odd to her now, expressing that while appreciative in the sentiment, she hoped the fact that her fellow campers felt free to be themselves further than the activities in nature, public cabins, and family eating out. In short, everywhere.
Yes, my son has her challenges, the girl’s snarky attitudes, her moments of self-doubt. Yes, the girl can sometimes be mean to the woman’s siblings, sassy to the girl’s parents, generally ornery. Even though, underneath it all are ever-expanding and deep cracks of self-awareness, self-love and true compassion for others that will serve but not just her, but the world most importantly, quite well.
Using a palpable gratitude for all of the opportunities and lessons learned from her previous camp experiences, she began to promote her deeper thoughts on the following subject and beyond. This lady shared that while camp is touted as a place to be fully and legitimately yourself, create a sisterhood, expand a connection to nature, and explore your core through contemplation and solitude, the purpose of it all is to come to understand that inner correlation is available anywhere, anytime, and most importantly in the NOW.
Not necessarily what I experienced a long time back (alright twenty-six many back to be exact) in the tender age of 18. Recently my daughter and I were discussing whether or not she would attend, once again, some three week all girls’ camp for the 5th summer in a row.