We’ve all heard about encouraging our kids to find their passion, but it’s often connected to college admissions, or a future career, or some other measurable goal. A recent New York Times article offered a different view by showing how following a passion can contribute positively to self-care. A productivity expert quoted in the article said, “there’s moments where time almost has no meaning because we’re so happy about what we’re doing. The more time you can spend in that zone, the better life feels.” While the expert was not speaking about sleepaway camp, there’s no truer way to describe the experience kids often have while away at camp. In addition to exposure to new people, situations, and activities, camp offers children long stretches of time to try-on and develop passions. The activity doesn’t matter – it’s the joy in the discovery. And being immersed in an enjoyable activity adds up to a lot of good self-care. The idea that engagement = self-care is an important one to consider as we parent our children.
Self-care is all about the choices we make for our schedules. By sending our kids to sleepaway camp, we are offering them a safe space to figure out what they enjoy, and what matters to them. And we are giving them a chance to learn how to cultivate a passion, which is not a skill everyone has. Learning to try, fail, and try again are the skills we need to encourage to help children grow into adults who aren’t afraid to seek out new things on the road to finding their passion. Just by feeling confident that they can attempt new things will provide our children with a more joyful approach to life. While we can’t guarantee that our children will enter adulthood with a lifelong passion, we can do our best to give them the skills to find one.