the nest

the nest

Saturday, August 23, 2014

Love and Thanksgiving to Camp Calumet

So many thoughts and "feels".  Over the next week I will be writing more... It helps me process and distracts me.  First on the list in my brain is a love letter to Camp Calumet Lutheran.

Dear Camp Calumet,

I can't believe that this was our last year with a "camper".  For 14 summers you have been a home away from home for my children.  I know this isn't goodbye in any way, shape or form, but it does feel like a transition that needs to be marked.  Here are just a few of the reasons I will forever be grateful that in 2001 I took a leap of faith and moved to NH for the summer.

You have offered my children the opportunity to be a part of a giant "youth group".  Having grown up in the Holy Land of MN, I had an enormous youth group and endless opportunities to explore questions of God and faith with my peers on a weekly if not daily basis.  Even when it was purely social (much of the time!), I was with adults, friends and families who loved me and cared for me within the context of the Christian Faith.  Calumet has been one giant youth group and for that I thank you.

You've provided my children with the opportunity to PLAY.  In our increasingly technological and test driven world, I'm certain that my children have learned as much if not more about what is important in life (skills and ideas), during their time on the shores of Lake Ossipee.  I can't even begin to list it all, but here's a sample.
 They have learned to be themselves- they are so much more sure of who they are than I ever was- I don't always agree with them, but I'm so proud that they can think for themselves and hold strong to what is important to them.
 They have learned to problem solve, cooperate, support, guide, nurture, play, think, argue, apologize, love and so much more.
 They have learned that there is a community of people out there who LOVE them and who will always be there with open arms and endless grace.
 I know they have learned so much more, good and not so good, but this is what is important to me.

I also need to thank you for what you have given me as a parent and an individual.  You've supported me and Jeff as we have parented our children far from "home".  In fact, I referred to MN as "home" for our first 10 years in CT.  I stopped the year we discovered Calumet.
  You've given me endless opportunities to observe my children growing and learning - I have to thank them as well for allowing me into their "camp world". Most parents will never have this opportunity.
  You have offered me a community as well where I can be my best self.  For that I thank you from the depths of my heart.

Our relationship will continue, but with my youngest hopefully coming back as a trainee, we are now fully immersed in the next phase.  It will continue to be filled with joy and laughter, frustration and tears.  It will continue to help us all grow into the best people we can be.  Thank you.

See you next summer!

Yours most sincerely,      Jane

Saturday, August 2, 2014

Ticki tick tick....

One month to go- even though Katy has been away from home working at Calumet, she won't really be gone until August 30th when we leave her in her dorm room.  Right now I can still get to her quickly if she needs me.  By September it won't be so easy.  It will all be good though - she is more than ready and while I will miss her, I'm ready to sit back and watch her discover her path.  It will be an exciting one for sure.  She will get hurt and lost.  She will make mistakes and bad choices.  She will also have lots of fun, discover amazing things about herself and others, and change the world.  Just like her brother before her, she will manage just fine without me and her dad.
I know this.  She has learned most of her lessons well and is eager to learn more.
She also knows we are here when and if she needs us.

We are lucky.  She has a strong network of friends and family.  We are educated, have lots of skills and are part of a faith community which has helped us raise our children within a moral framework based on loving and caring for each other and the world.

What about those children and families who don't have what we do?  Like baby birds that get pushed out of the nest too soon, too many children have no safety net.  No one is there to catch them.  I see more and more out in the world where instead of supporting and helping children and families who are struggling, our culture judges them.  We make assumptions about families who make difficult and sometimes wrong choices.  We blame desperate people who send their children to the "land of opportunity", for taking resources that are "ours."
When basic needs are not being met, we cannot focus on anything else.  Children who are hungry cannot learn.  Parents who cannot feed, shelter or clothe their children adequately cannot focus on "bettering themselves or their situation."      
Desperate people do desperate things.  What if, instead of catering to big business etc. our politicians and decision makers put some time, energy and resources to addressing the desperate circumstances people find themselves in.  Just maybe if we cared for others instead of just ourselves, the world would be a kinder, more peaceful place.  Maybe some people just don't care.
Judging, punishing, criticizing and berating people DOES NOT HELP THEM LEARN HOW TO DO IT DIFFERENTLY.   It teaches them that no matter what they do they will be judged, punished, criticized and berated.  We have to find a different way.