Books are the quietest and most constant of friends; they are the most accessible and wisest of counselors, and the most patient of teachers. ~Charles W. Eliot

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Home Away From Home

I have friends who never went to sleepaway camp and think that the prospect of sending your kids away for the summer is neglectful and maybe even barbaric. I wonder  how I would view the camp thing if I hadn't been a camper myself. It's hard to say. As a parent sending my kids off to camp for two months, knowing I'll see them only for one day in the middle, my internal conflict, which rages on throughout the season because I miss them very much, always resolves in favor of granting my children the kind of experience and independence they can only get from sleepaway camp, if they want it. I enjoy the fact that they always seem to appreciate home that much more when they return at the end of the summer and I revel in the way they assert their independence just a little more each year. I don't know if camp will ultimately help them (or me) adjust to college away from home but here's hoping. I do believe that sleepaway camp breeds flexibility, self-awareness, compassion and problem-solving skills. I also support the idea of separating kids from computers and TV sets for a while. Ultimately, I love knowing that my kids are able to make a home away from home for themselves and that they then return to the home we have built for and with them. It's all good!

Last night I took home a picture book that should become a classic. Alexis Deacon's A Place to Call Home, illustrated by Viviane Schwarz, is one of the greatest picture books I've ever experienced. It's hysterically funny (the laugh-out-loud kind!),  heart-warmingly adorable and entirely delightful. Seven furry hamster-like brothers outgrow their nice, warm, safe hole in the ground and go out in the world in search of a new home. They adventures take them across the sea (a puddle), to the edge of the world (atop a washing machine) and face-to-face with a beast (a dog). But they help each other and, eventually, find a wonderful new home. Quite honestly, this is a book a child will want to read over and over again and so will a parent.  Enjoy!

1 comment:

  1. So glad you posted this today of all days. Good to be reminded of all the positives! xo