There was an article in last week’s NYTimes “ The Stories That Bind Us” that I wanted to share with you at this holiday time of year, as our thoughts turn to family and to our camp family. http://www.nytimes.com/2013/03/17/fashion/the-family-stories-that-bind-us-this-life.html?ref=style
The author Bruce Feiler poses the question; “What is the secret sauce that holds a family together? What are the ingredients that make some families effective, resilient, happy?”
And he points to studies that show that “ The single most important thing you can do for your family may be the simplest of all; develop a family narrative.” Tell your family’s stories to your children. It has been proven that children who know a lot about their families are more resilient and better able to face life’s challenges.
Do your children know where their grandparents grew up? How they met? The story surrounding their own birth? “ The more children know about their family’s history, the stronger their sense of control over their lives, the higher their self-esteem and the more successfully they believed their families functioned.”
And the research shows that we shouldn’t sugar-coat it, tell children about family setbacks as well as successes. Let them know that even when times were tough, your family stuck together, carried on and moved forward.
Children who have the most self-confidence, according to Dr. Marshall Duke, an authority in this field at Emory University, are those who feel “part of something bigger than themselves.”
And feeling a part of something bigger than oneself, is in many ways what camp is all about. Each child is part of the community, a bunk, a division, a camp. And the Camp Timber Tops story is a great one that stretches back 4 generations and is full of tradition and fun. My daughter, Anna, will tell that story around the campfire this summer. Make sure to tell your family’s story, all year long.