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.
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.