Camp Good Enough

Kathy Krugerbalance, contentment, find your flow21 Comments

Imagine a place where you were always good enough – self-reliant, self-confident, self-disciplined – and where the whole point of being there is fun. Sound pretty good? Welcome to Camp Good Enough.

It’s where my daughter is headed on Thursday for her first-ever school camp – my Year 4, 10-year-old is growing up!

Only she won’t head to camp on the school bus with the rest of her classmates – No – the first day of this overnight camp clashes with the annual ballet exams she’s been preparing for all year!

We couldn’t believe it – of all the scheduling dramas with kids and school and dance and work and life, this has been the worst so far. I suspect a lot more conflicts are ahead if dance prevails.

We gave Miss Yin the choice and she wanted to do the ballet exams (if she doesn’t do them now she’d have to wait until next year).  There is a group exam in the morning, which we gently suggested would be good for her to do, considering she’d been preparing with all the other girls. Then her solo exam is in the afternoon, and she mulled the decision on whether to go ahead (and I know she felt some pressure from her ballet teacher).

She’ll do the exams and then we’ll take her down to camp – she’ll be there in the late afternoon, in time for the all the evening activities, dinner and the main bit, the sleepover, and then she’ll enjoy all the next day’s activities with her school friends.

Life is a compromise I guess, and that’s the lesson for Miss Yin. But I’m struck by the irony of her missing out on part of ‘Camp Good Enough’ in order to compete to be the best (or at least to pass an exam).

She loves dance, ballet in particular, and in it she has ‘found her flow’. Is that enough to miss out on so much more?

We already incurred the wrath (well the grudging approval) of Miss Yin’s ballet teacher in deciding to attend the annual International Adoption Day celebrations and so miss the first of two days of ballet exam rehearsals a couple of weeks ago. We can’t compromise on our kid’s culture, seeing their ‘China Cousins’, spending time with our special adoption friends.

But sacrifices are ahead and it has me pondering what is more important – having the chance to be really good at something, or simply being ‘good enough’ in enjoying the multitude of experiences that come our way in life – like abseiling and canoeing, archery and high ropes – some of the things Miss Yin may well miss out on at Camp Goodenough? Sigh.






I see the self-confidence and self-discipline that dance is teaching her, and I want to see her succeed. Still I worry that it will also teach her what it’s like to feel ‘not good enough’ and that is a hard lesson to learn. Ballet will be a very hard task master.

Katelin Kruger got caught reading_edited-1

Miss Yin posing for a ‘get caught reading’ photo, reading the junior version of ‘Mao’s Last Dancer’

I want to cocoon her in a school camp where her good enough is just fine, even though I know the kids will still compete with each other, despite all the positive guidance about trust and teamwork.

If it is human nature to compete and compare, then should we always aim to be the best and go after those achievements that our talents and interests enable us to be ‘more than’ good enough at?

I guess it comes back to balance (surprise, surprise) – knowing that we are born ‘enough’ and don’t need ribbons and trophies to prove it, but also finding our flow in that thing (or things) that we love and can excel at. It is brave to put ourselves on the line to be the best that we can be, but ultimately it can bring us the most joy.

And hanging out at Camp Goodenough is pretty great too.

What do you think?

Linking up with Essentially Jess for IBOT.


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Kathy KrugerCamp Good Enough

21 Comments on “Camp Good Enough”

  1. Debra Dane

    I guess for me the question would be about motivation and wAnts. I would ask my daughter if she genuinely WANTED to do the exam etc or if she felt she “should”. Some kids do genuinely enjoy the structure of completing the exams in the arts that show their progressed. But if my daughter really wanted to do something else I would help her make peace with letting go f “shoulds” and following her heart!

    In your daughters case it is nice that you are able to drive her there to join in later. It will all be a bit of a learning right? After this she will ave experience and info to help make decisions later as well xxx

    1. yinyangmother

      Thanks Deb – yes there is a difference between ‘shoulds’ that put too much pressure on a choice – Miss Yin is self-motivated, but I don’t pretend ballet doesn’t come with its external pressures. Thanks for your support.

  2. mummywifeme

    Very thought provoking post. That camp sounds like a wonderful idea for kids. I think you hit the nail on the head when you said it’s all about balance. Balance and as long as your little Miss is happy then you can’t go wrong. She’s gorgeous BTW 🙂

  3. EssentiallyJess

    Very thought provoking indeed.
    I guess my thought is that ‘good enough’ is not enough. You need to be your best. Not THE best, but the best you can be. And settling for good enough is not necessarily some thing to encourage.
    But if you’re telling them that they are good enough, the natural transition is that they will then have confidence to succeed and be their best. Does that make sense?

  4. Martine@themodernparent

    I think you have dealt with it the best way possible. Life is about compromise but sometimes you have to choose. You do want her to feel ‘good enough’ but I think it is perfectly ok to strive to achieve great things as well. As long as our kids are doing these things for themselves and not for others. In saying that we also try to teach our kids about commitment. If they join a team for example then they have a responsibility to that team that sometimes has to be more important. It is always tricky juggling these things but I think you are right to just take each decision as it comes up and deal with as you see fit at the time.

    1. yinyangmother

      Thanks Martine for your support. We really felt it was important for her to do the group exam, as they had been practising together and that is team commitment. She was really committed despite getting progressively sicker and the tough decision not to go to camp because of that after all.

    1. yinyangmother

      They grow into the experiences I guess and they grow from them. I’m quite proud of Miss Yin – having said that she has suckered me into a day off school today (the ever extended sickness), so in many ways she is still a little girl.

  5. Lisa@RandomActsOfZen

    Tough decision, but I think you’ve handled it the best way that keeps everyone happy. It’s wonderful that Miss Yin wants to do her exam, I remember how strict they were when Bell was doing ballet. The camp will also be an awesome experience for her, so exciting! x

    1. yinyangmother

      Thanks for stopping by and your support. Martine did say it very well. It is sad she missed out on camp in the end because she was sick but maybe there is a lesson there in disappointment too.

  6. Sharon

    Tough decision, but I think you handled it the best way possible. It was a good learning experience for you daughter. You can’t always do everything all the time. I love the idea of Camp Good Enough. It sends such a healthy message.

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