As we come to the end of the second day of camp, I can appreciate how curious you must be about what your son has been doing. Are his counselors nice? Is he brushing his teeth at night? Is he making friends? Is he missing home? While I can assure you, he is brushing his teeth and loving our food, there are bound to be moments of sadness and disappointment. As parents, we want to shield our children from any of those feelings. But on so many levels, camp provides our children an opportunity to develop self-reliance. It teaches them how to win with grace and to lose with dignity.
I am reminded of the time, about a year ago, when I traveled to Florida. I had to miss my daughter’s travel soccer game. As I was buckled into my seat and was told to turn off my phone, I made a quick call to my wife to find out how the game was going. Joan informed me the game was tied 1-1 and that Kate just had an opportunity to take a penalty kick, which hit the post and did not go into the goal. I found myself 20,000 feet in the air for three hours, and I couldn’t help but wonder whether my daughter was upset. Did they lose the game? Were the girls angry because she missed the opportunity to score? My mind raced the entire flight, and when the plane landed in Miami, I couldn’t turn the phone on fast enough. When I checked back in, Kate answered. Before I could ask her how it went, with great enthusiasm she said, “I had a penalty kick to put us in the lead. I was never so nervous and afraid, and the ball almost went in! I know this experience has prepared me for the next opportunity. Next time, that goal is mine!”
When my wife took the phone from Kate, she uttered a few words of which I will never forget. “You weren’t needed on the sideline today. You have helped to give your daughter the strength and confidence to succeed when you are not there,” she said. I know the same holds true for you as parents. You have raised your children with the skills to succeed because of the love and attention you have provided them. Rest assured that the confidence you have instilled in your children has prepared them for the Camp Takajo experience. With each new day, they will continue to flourish into self-reliant young men.