The first summer Olivia was old enough to go to church camp for more than an overnight stay was also one of the weeks I was to be the camp mom in the girl’s dorm. Olivia was used to me being her youth leader at church, but for some reason she wasn’t thrilled at the prospect of not being the only member of our family at camp that week. She said she didn’t even want the people to know I was her mom (although most of them already did). I told her that would be fine—that I wouldn’t talk to her unless I had to. And I really was fine with that. I understood her need for independence and I certainly didn’t want to embarrass her or make her feel like a baby. After all, she was eight years old!
By the end of the first full day of camp she was coming to me just like she normally would. She even called out “Mom!” from across the blacktop play area to get my attention. The secret was out! Apparently Olivia had decided I wouldn’t embarrass her so it was safe to let everyone who didn’t already know, know who I was.
I hadn’t thought about that week in years, but the other day I was reading through the book of Proverbs and found Proverbs 17:6 Children’s children are a crown to the aged, and parents are the pride of their children.
We spend plenty of time teaching, hoping, and warning our children about how and why not to embarrass US in public, but this verse clearly states that we, as parents, are to be a source of pride to our children. In other words, we need to be just as careful to not embarrass our kids. This means no dressing like we’re sixteen, no telling embarrassing stories about our kids (especially in front of them), no wiping food off their faces with spit (or anything else, for that matter), no showing baby pictures to their prom date, and no disciplining them openly in front of their friends.
I’m not perfect so I know there’s a chance I embarrassed my kids a time or two, so Zach, Elizabeth, Olivia, and Emma, I’m sorry if I did. It was never intentional.
As for Olivia and I being able to ‘do’ camp together… we spent fifteen more years going to camp together each summer—making many of our most memorable and precious mother/daughter memories there—memories we will never forget.
So you see it is possible to enjoy spending time with your kids without embarrassing them.
Copyright 2015 Darla Noble. No part of this can be used or copied without permission from the author.