by Evan Mallah, Camp Parent
Today we dropped off our two children at sleep-away camp for 7 weeks, a ritual we have undertaken every summer for the past 5 years. Summer camp may be the only true “leave-taking” possible for our children in today’s hyperactive world – no technology, no parents, no parent-scheduled activities, and no homework.
As I looked around, I saw so many smiling children, exuding confidence and excitement – they were alive! At the same time, I noticed so many nervous parents – afraid to let go, petrified to lose ceremonial control, and fearful to look in the mirror! The parents have mostly lost or forgotten camp, but they all know that their children need it, if they have a chance of enjoying life and finding happiness.
And all the parents (myself included), in a true leap of faith, unpeel themselves from their children just long enough to let them live for a moment, as they simply are right now and here. In this meaningful letting-go, we remember our childhood and find our inner camper again, reborn and full of love!
What do these children all know that we have forgotten?! Hineini! They are here, not only physically. They are ready to live life to the fullest, to lead and to be compassionate! They are present, in this moment, and unafraid!
At camp they breathe deeply, they connect to nature, they nourish their physical and emotional being, they form a community and experience spirituality, they feel accepted, they take risks, they share, and maybe they fall in love too – in love with themselves for the very first time, in love with a community and the Earth, and in love with LIFE!
As I drive home and walk into my house, exhausted from packing, delivering and unwrapping my children and their things, I feel so lucky – lucky to be alive, lucky to have children at camp, and lucky to share my life with a true partner. But, most of all, I feel overwhelming gratitude for being taught by my children, being reminded how to live and love, and being woken up to the beautiful world of camp.