July 10, 2018
Late last week, we received an email from a long-time camp mom that included the photo I start this article with.
Admittedly, this correspondence is not a threat to win a Pulitzer Prize. It is not detailed. In fact, it might even seem rude.
But that is not how the mom interpreted it. Here is what she included with the picture:
“To the amazing counselors and staff of Camp Champions,
I just had to share with you the only mail we have received from camp this term. I posted this photo on Facebook this morning and asked my friends if my husband and I had failed as parents or succeeded. My post has unanimously received thumbs ups and smiley faces with everyone agreeing that this is a parenting win! The fact that my son is confident, happy, and loves camp so much that he hates the forced downtime required to write a postcard are all good things. Right? He couldn’t even pause long enough to sign his name! (But I know this postcard is from my younger son.)
Keep up the good work!”
I am certain that this mom would have been delighted with a detailed discussion of camp, friends and activities. A few inside jokes would have been well-appreciated. But these parents are taking the long view. They do not expect thoughtful reflection from a 12 year-old. Instead, they see evidence that he feels so comfortable at camp – and with them – that a letter like this is OK.
My mom used to say that she would grimace whenever I wrote home. If camp was awesome, I was having too much fun to write. I only wrote if I was ill or homesick. I was a bit like the author here. My parents chose to interpret my letters in the same way these did.
The only difference is that mine did not get any “likes” (after all, it was the pre-Facebook world of 1972).