Do you write letters to your children at overnight camp? I did to my children when they went away — but then, that was before emails. Today many parents have the easier option of communicating with their children who are away by email.
I thought a lot about this recently when my 26-year old daughter approached me with tears in her eyes after having read some of the letters my father wrote to my sister and me when we attended camp in the northern woods of Michigan. I decided to re-read some of these letters to see just what she was reacting to. Having lost my father at an early age, I was reminded of the genuine interest he took in the activities my sister and I were participating in: sailing, horseback riding and waterskiing — as well as the woes of my sister over her counselor duties and, most importantly, my homesickness. He knew that it was important for me to get through the experience so that I could develop the confidence and growth that comes with being at an overnight camp!
Seeing my dad’s words, in his own handwriting, was an awakening for me! Yes, I’ve read them before, but re-reading them now and seeing my daughter react to them was so touching. And I realized that what I’ve been doing for the past 11 years as a camp advisor is just what my father wanted for me — helping other children develop that same confidence. And seeing those words in a letter, with its personal touch and its permanence and his handwriting added profoundly to its meaning to me.