Adjusting to Having High Schoolers
Our family’s WinShape story begins in the late 80’s and early 90’s when several of my Berry College friends and I worked camp over the course of several summers. As we entered into the season of marriage and starting families, we always knew we wanted our children to attend camp together. All eight of them! We wanted our own children to grow up having a camp experience that only an overnight camp could have. The heart of WinShape had been instilled into us during our time working there and we wanted our children to grow up and have the opportunity for the heart of WinShape poured into their own lives as they matured in life and in their faith.
My son began camp going into the 2nd grade and my daughter into the 3rd. She was always the younger one in her grade and we felt it would be better for her to be older going away for the first time for two weeks. Both of them went to camp with the children from the other three families and we strategically signed them up for the same session each summer. It became their favorite time of the year and it was difficult getting them to leave and come down from the WinShape high when camp ended. They both had a difficult time adjusting to life post-camp because camp was such a safe place and an escape from the distractions of the world. They felt safe, loved, and close to Jesus when they were there. I often said that they grew more in two weeks away at camp than they did the rest of the year.
As our children entered high school, we were very upfront with them about how life would be for them during this season and what our expectations were for academics, as well as their personal character. Some of the truths we shared with them were…
5 Tips & Truths:
Your heart is our number one concern. While we have high expectations for academics, working hard, and doing your best, your personal character and heart are our number one priority. Camp was part of our commitment to their hearts.
We don’t roll with the world. We won’t parent you the way many of your friends will be parented and we won’t let you do a lot of what everyone else is doing. Camp allowed them the chance to disconnect from the world.
Make sure you have a mentor. You need someone older in your life that is a safe place for you to talk about your challenges and hold you accountable. Camp counselors served as mentors in their lives, some even to this day.
Your faith has to be your own. It has to be more than what we have taught you and it has to be more than what you learn in church. Camp allowed them the opportunity to explore their faith by the delivery of themes that drew them more to understanding God and who He was.
You don’t have to be the type of teenager the world says you are. The world can have a view of how the typical teenager behaves but that doesn’t have to be you. We thoroughly enjoyed our children during those years! Camp helped reinforce who we were raising them to be.
Even though we were committed to guiding our children in these truths during the teenage years, it wasn’t easy. It was a constant battle fighting for the hearts of our children as the world continued to throw challenges in their path. However, parents should be encouraged that even though the world changes, our God doesn’t. While there is so much responsibility keeping up with the challenges of what children today are facing, the reality is that what God calls us to do as parents does not change. His truths and his expectations of us as parents are the same today that they were yesterday, the day before that, and the many days before that. Making the commitment to their hearts is God’s expectation of us as parents and thankfully, there are places like WinShape Camps that can support and walk alongside us as we journey through the high school years. As you navigate these years, be present, speak truth, and love them the way God loves us. Remember, they are his children first.
Special thanks to Kimberly Scales for taking the time to share this guest post with us. If you have a WinShape story you’d like to share, let us know!