Summer Social Time

When I was a kid, I dreaded the weeklong camp experience most of the time.  I was never particularly fast to make friends and spent most of the week either trying to figure out how to fit in, or trying to pretend I didn't want to.  I was caught between the dream of wanting to have friends and the reality, most other kids and their various unpredictable ways drove me nuts!

So on the tails of that experience, I have my own children and the understanding that they should have opportunities for social interaction outside our family sphere.  The predicament is that I am highly aware of the challenges of trying to create summer friendships as a kid.  Vacation friendships are always hit or miss, and it always seems my kids find the "perfect companion" the day before we head home.

We haven't tried camp, but we go to the same vacation destination each year where a core group of regulars reside.  This poses it's own set of challenges when you have a core group of kids roaming the beach and neighborhood like their own little island, where parents seem to live in their own parallel world until something goes wildly wrong.  This week, that was a bunch of kids tormenting and repeatedly pantsing another child while simultaneously having a rock throwing 'war'.  My guess is this is not what my son's teachers had in mind when they recommended social interaction over the summer.  Yet at other times, moments of harmony occur around looking for turtles in the bog, explaining how to tie a fly, or the all American backyard baseball game.

So here I am straddling the helicopter parent vs. keep your child out of harms way with as little interference as possible line.  Glad that at least one boy had the sense to walk away from a bad situation, greatful neither child was involved in the commotion, I am left uneasy.  I would hope one day they would have the courage to speak out against bullying behavior, or what I am sure some parents think of as "boys will be boys" that got a little out of hand.  I think standing up to a group of ten boys you don't see often or know well is a bit much to ask of an 8 & a 10 year old.  Right now though, I am just happy they came out unharmed and a little wiser.

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