All of our campers are officially now back in school. Whether it is home school, private school, or public, they are all now sitting in classrooms around the country and learning. When we were children, we were told how important learning is. That if we want a future and a good job, we have to work really hard in school and learn as much as we can. While that is mostly true, and I would never want to degrade education, it is important that we don’t let class become our children’s identity.
I think that we all know that the school system is not a perfect one. Children are somewhat expected to fit a mold that not all children can fit into. A mold that fits in a desk and sits quietly for hours while listening intently and taking notes. If your child can’t fit that mold they feel like a failure. If this is all they are expected to do day in and day out it becomes who they are. They are defined by their grades and their teachers.
Just as you as an adult need to balance work with life and hobbies, so do your kids. As classes start at your child’s school you must remember this. They don’t live just to bring home good grades or read books that were assigned to them, just as you don’t live just for a paycheck. Your children need something outside of the walls of the school that brings them joy. Something that lights a spark in their eye and motivates them to keep growing and learning.
Our goal at Strong Rock and really any summer camp is to help them find that thing. To experience something they enjoy so much that they want to be better. The activity that uses their talents and gifts which are rarely exercised anywhere else. Can you imagine going through your entire life unsure that you were good at anything? Only to realize that it was because you waited to long to try the one thing you are extremely gifted and interested in.
So, what I ask and plead of you is as school starts make time for something besides academics. Do something other than an organized sport. Get outside and hike, go bowling, play board games, run around the yard with your dogs, maybe even just go see a movie. All these things are learning opportunities that can impact the long-term development of not just your child’s brain but also their spirit and personality.
Think back to when you were a child and tell me three great memories that molded who you are today from school. I would be bold enough to say not many can do that. But what if I ask for three memories that molded who you are today that didn’t happen at school? Can you even sort all of them down to just three.
School is incredible and very important, but it doesn’t have the same lasting effect that a real experience does. Enjoying things other than grades and academics leads to a life with less anxiety. To go from school where you are pressured to perform in a controlled environment in very specific subjects to a job or career that does the same is what creates the increase of depression and anxiety we see in kids and especially young adults today.
This is why it is so important to experience things with your kids. Activities that they are self-motivated in instead of motivated by test scores, grades, or money. Take your children to do just one thing a week. Whether it is canoeing, climbing, swimming, maybe even just going to a play. Anything that allows them to explore hobbies and interests. Your child’s identity should never be defined by school where they spend all day. Let them know they are more than that.