by Stephanie Ziebarth, Barnabas Ministry Coordinator
I love my kids. Very much.
I also sense the months and years slipping away. My three children are 16, 14 and 10. Once your home starts receiving excessive college mail, you realize that the empty nest is closer than you think.
I could be tempted to say, “Stay home! I want as much time with you as possible!” And we do intentionally schedule family time and cherish those moments.
But I am also raising children who will eventually be adults. And I desire them to be prepared for whatever good plans God has for them.
So, even though I cherish my moments with them, I still send them to camp. In fact, my kids attend multiple weeks of camp. And every time they leave I tell them some variation of the same thing: “I am going to miss you, but I’m also very excited about this opportunity. You’re going to have a great week!”
And they do—every time. They learn, grow, make new friends, strengthen their faith, walk around all day with unbrushed hair (sometimes), and it’s a beautiful thing.
When we are reunited at the end of the week, I am so glad to see them, and they are glad to see me. And on the way home we talk about highs and lows of the week, what they learned, etc. And for the following 24 hours at least, I hear stories—lots of stories.
And I feel good about the decision to send them to camp. Because I am growing as a mother when I send them; and, more important, my children are growing from the experience of a week of living at camp.
To read some more sobering information about what might happen when we helicopter-parent, visit here: http://www.slate.com/articles/double_x/doublex/2015/07/helicopter_parenting_is_increasingly_correlated_with_college_age_depression.2.html.
Stephanie Ziebarthwon national and state awards before choosing to focus on family and ministry rather than a career in magazine journalism. She spends most of her time homeschooling her children and coordinating Joy El Generation’s Barnabas mentoring program, though she occasionally writes for local and national publications. She and husband have three children. Stephanie blogs personally at http://thebookoflifeblog.blogspot.com/ and is the community blogger for http://www.echo-pilot.com/