Provide Like A Parent

and then led me out into the airy light

and taught me to walk and swim,

and I, in turn, presented her with a lanyard.

Here are thousands of meals, she said,

and here is clothing and a good education.

And here is your lanyard, I replied,

which I made with a little help from a counselor.

Here is a breathing body and a beating heart,

strong legs, bones, and teeth,

and two clear eyes to read the world, she whispered,

and here, I said, is the lanyard I made at camp.

Perhaps you are now thinking back to your own childhood and the handcrafted gifts you gave to loved ones to show how much you cared. I have discovered that the more I learn about what it means to be a parent, the more I learn about what it means to be a child.

Protection And Devotion

Can you even imagine the devotion it takes to ensure a child stays safe and warm and happy? That someone did whatever it took to make sure you were safe and warm and happy is remarkable. And that is how someone still feels about you. Perhaps no one has told you that lately.

So here is my hope for you: You don’t have to wait to become a parent to realize the love that has been given to you, and the love, hope, and joy within you. And know that somebody still feels that way about you.

For me, that is the gift of parenting. I realize that while I am doing so much for others, I am also deserving of patience, devotion, and love. Just as each of the children you care for this summer deserves the security of your warmth and leadership, you deserve the same treatment. And that mutual kindness will make you and your campers better parents, should that day come.

N. Shane LaPointe is a professional health educator and a Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist. She and her family can be found slope-side in the winter and camp-side in the summer. During the academic year, Shane teaches courses in health education at Phillips Exeter Academy, a coeducational boarding high school in New Hampshire.

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