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Friday, July 16, 2010

The Art of Losing: A 10yr Old's Perspective

It's over Baseball is finally over.

Bittersweet and amazing, our 10yr olds took 5th in State! Not bad for a pile of kids from a town of 23,000!

So how does it feel? I ask him, my son - the leader of this clan. He felt like they should have one that last game. How do you feel about being eliminated? He gets uncomfortable at this point. It's hard for him, for these kids. And I don't think losing is the hard part. I think it's us adults hoping they stand up tall, shake the other team's hands with pride, and feel as proud as we do about their successes without tears. It's feeling the emotions of letting go of a big season, of losing the comradeship they've been nursing for the last 4 1/2 weeks.

It's about loss, not losing.

Two days later, it's all dust in the wind. All of the kids have moved on from the game. They have exchanged phone numbers and promised play dates for the remaining part of the summer. I took mine to the Zoo and to a Science Museum. We hit a ridiculously, outlandishly cool doughnut shop and ate pizza for two nights. And I find it amazing how proud I am of them.

None of them are holding grudges, none of them suddenly think they shouldn't have played this game they lost. They all feel great and are hosting their own Home Run Derby in two days.

Now if that isn't an example I should strive to be more like, I don't know what is.

Win as if you were used to it, lose as if you enjoyed it for a change. Ralph Waldo Emerson

Monday, July 12, 2010

How To Send Your Kids To Camp This Summer

How to Send Your Kid to Camp… Rules of Engagement

Sending your kid to camp is no easy task. In fact, I approach it each year just like the last - as if I'm leaving to accomplish something so big, so great, that only the most stoic standing person can succeed at this challenge. By the time I'm done, they'll have a statue erected with my face on it. OK, not really, but still. It's hard! Here's some lessons I've learned in the last decade re: camp:

  1. Pick a camp you are both comfortable with – the worst thing you can do is pick a camp you are nervous about sending your kid to. Is the context of the camp acceptable and worthy of your child’s attention? Does your kid seem excited to go and learn more about [insert something interesting here]? Is the camp organization reputable and do you have any local references to rely your opinion on?

  1. Pick a camp that has a timeframe you both can handle – One serious mistake is to send your kid to a week-long overnight camp when he’s never spent the night anywhere else in his sweet little life. Camp is not the time to ‘try something new’ and hope they work it out. I guarantee you’ll get that call from a camp counselor and find yourself traipsing through the campground looking for your kiddo who’s shyly sitting in some corner wishing they were as brave as the other kids, not realizing it’s a matter of exposure, not confidence.

  1. Have the ‘talk’ about mutual respect and group dynamics – turns out, much of what we intuitively know about group dynamics as adults came from experiences that worked (and didn’t work) as kids. Seems like a no-brainer, but as a parent I’m realizing that sometimes it’s those little nuances in an experience that my son misses until I point them out. At 34, I still miss those sometimes, too. But hey – no one’s perfect, right? So jot down some important messages you want to convey and have the talk with your kid before they go to camp. Some of my trusted favorites include, but are not limited to:

    1. Just because your friend does it doesn’t mean you have to. This includes practical jokes, sneaking out of tents, catching poisonous snakes, jumping off of cliffs, kissing behind trees and other adolescent things that come up at camp. And I don’t care if he’s your new best friend.
    2. Attending camp does not suddenly make you a teenager. Seriously. It simply makes you a kid who went to camp one summer, so NO, you cannot stay up until midnight and NO you cannot now watch rated-R movies. To be clear, getting older makes you a teenager. Then and only then do you get teenager privileges.
    3. Yes, camp counselors count as guardians even when they aren’t related to you.  Bottom line is, they are wearing the camp counselor shirt, name tag, and other paraphernalia, so do what they say. Please.

  1. Let go. Easier said than done, right? I know. Just remember – kids are like horses, bees, etc. They can sense fear. Once that happens, you’ll find yourself sending freshly baked cookies every day, writing (yes, writing) letters to mail to them, and more. Just let them go. It’s a great experience for the both of you and someday you’ll be sending them off to college, so start practicing now.

For more tips on how to send your kids to camp, click HERE!

Sunday, July 11, 2010

World Cup + Kids = Fun?

Sure! Why not? What kid wouldn't love a living room piled with adults shouting and screaming all the while eating and drinking? Sounds fun to me!

On a selfish drive to satisfy today's blog + keep the kids happy in 120 mins or so, I found us all a few websites that may help.

Got any better ideas? Pile them on here too so we can all watch, shout, and drink in peace!  

Websites to plunder through NOW:

World Cup For Kids
How to Share World Cup Soccer With Your Kids 

Enjoy the game today everyone! May the best team win!