Independence, Security and Choir Camp

July 20, 2011 by cloften  
Filed under Family and Parenting

We just recently got back from choir camp. Who is we? Not me, exactly. Maylee, my oldest who is 13, went to choir camp for a week and got back on Saturday. We all went to pick her up, so technically we did all get back from choir camp.  She had a great time.  The choirs and ensembles that she was a part of did very well, and as always, we are very proud of her.

She had been to camp before, but it always had been a Christian sports/outdoors type of camps.  This was different.  There are some obvious differences between a Christian and a (gasp) secular camp.  We could talk about those differences and the small shocks to the system that come from that, but not today.

The biggest shock to the system came in the arena of free time.  Free time at Camp War Eagle or Kannakuk was still pretty structured.  There were always counselors around, specific options to choose from and a giant border around the camp.  At choir camp though, they sometimes would be done at 4 and just be released.  “You need to be back in this room at 6:30.”  When/if/where she ate was totally up to her.  She could order pizza, go to the student center and pay, or eat for free in the cafeteria, or not eat at all (though that is not how Loftens roll).  Theoretically she could have walked off campus and eaten anywhere in Conway.  She could have called a taxi and had it take her to Little Rock.  (Do you think a taxi would pick up a 13 yr old girl who said take me to Cheeburger Cheeburger in LR?  I don’t want to think about it.)

Since Maylee was 6 months old, she has had her own plan.  Her plan was always better than your plan.  She doesn’t need your plan, help or opinions.  Now at 13, she clamors for more independence and freedom.  So you would think the kind of independence and freedom she experienced at Choir Camp would be a highlight.  Honestly, it overwhelmed her.  Given exactly what she has felt she has wanted for almost her whole life, she was nervous and called her mom.

Why?  This could be analyzed a whole lot of different ways.  I’ll pretend that there is only one.  It keeps the blog posts shorter.  For a kid, structure is safety.  Structure is security.  With freedom comes responsibility.  Responsibility that she’s not sure she’s ready for when she has it (though she is convinced she is ready when she doesn’t have it).

Mom talked to her, assured her that we trust her, she is responsible, etc. and she did great.  There was never any doubt that she would.

Where you going with this?

1)  The clamor for independence is not the same as being ready for it or even wanting it.

2)  If a mature 13 yr old girls gets nervous when suddenly she has total freedom, how do you think a 5 yr old reacts when we give him independence that he’s not ready for?

3) Some kids are stressed out, not because they have too many rules, but too few.

4) Choir camp concerts should not be 2 hours long. (Wait that was something else.)