Many friends of mine with boys went on a boy scout camp out this weekend. They had a lot of fun. The boy scouts seem to be doing things right.
When Sweetheart was a Girl Scout, for one year, parents were not allowed on the camp out. I seriously disagreed with this. My child was in 2nd grade. I wasn't sending her over an hour away from home with people I barely knew to sleep in a cabin with NO ADULTS in it with 20-30 other girls in 30 degree weather. Sorry.
I ended up becoming a leader that year just so I could go on the camp out. Then we quit.
I am afraid that some folks think I am overprotective. But what I think is.....some people are under protective.
Why are people so eager to send their kids away? Why is it OK with them that one of the "main things" Girl Scouts teach is for the girls to be independent from their parents? Why do the parents and families of Boy Scouts all go on the camp out and have a marvelous time? I'll tell you what I think: feminism.
But I really started doubting myself when we heard of American Heritage Girls. It's like a Christian Girl Scouts and I was so excited when I first heard about them. Then I found out that girls Sweetheart's age go on 4 or 5 camp outs per year. Most of those without the families. But Brenda, these are Christian homeschooling moms leading the troops. That's surely OK, right?
Well, not if family is as important to you as it is to me. The more time children spend with peers and the less time with family...the more out of whack things get. I don't want peers to be more important than sisters or parents. I'm not opposed to my children doing things, I just want to do them together. I like to see several Christian families all going camping together. Letting the kids go play...but all right there with their families.
Does any of this make sense?
I'll tell you one more "Brenda is so overprotective" story. A friend I used to teach with and I had Sweetheart and her daughter 5 months apart. When the girls were less than one year old, but both able to sit up in highchairs, S and I met she and her husband at a restaurant. They plopped their daughter down in the restaurant high chair. No seat belt. No buckle. (And yes, she did almost fall out.) They let her drink coke all through the meal. My friend's husband turned and started to offer some of his coke to Sweetheart and I kind of laughed and put my hand in front of her face. "No thank you!" I said jokingly but seriously at the same time. My friend elbowed her husband and whispered, "I told you! That's just how they are." I know they thought we were crazy. We buckled our child in the high chair. We gave her apple juice and cheerios. But what I thought was they were very under protective.
I suppose some of it boils down to differences in parenting styles. But for me, I take very seriously the fact that these children were given to us by God and WE are their protectors. WE are their trainers. WE will answer for how they are raised. I'm not comfortable shipping them off to others all the time to fulfill those duties for us.
I don't care if you want to give your baby coke. That's your choice. But I do care when parents are expected to forfeit their parental authority at younger and younger ages so that children can be independent. That's our ultimate parenting goal I suppose, but it's a long range goal...not one to start when the kids are still toddlers. (Think: parental preschool pressure--He needs to play with friends. You need a break. It would be so good for her. She needs to learn to be around other people besides you.)
And on a side note. I'm all about my kids being "independent" with me there. What I mean is, they do hard things. They learn a lot of jobs. They go play for hours outside without me. I encourage them to try new things. I'm just talking about them doing those things with us nearby. Not completely independent of their parents.
So what about you? Do others consider you over or under protective? How do you see yourself?