Homesick and Happy
How Time Away from Parents Can Help a Child Grow
By Michael Thompson, Ph.D.
An insightful and powerful look at the magic of summer camp—and why it is so important for children to be away from home . . . if only for a little while.
In an age when it’s the rare child who walks to school on his own, the thought of sending your "little ones" off to sleep-away camp can be overwhelming—for you and for them. But a parent’s first instinct—to shelter their offspring above all else—actually deprives children of the major developmental milestones that occur through letting them go—and watching them come back transformed.
In Homesick and Happy, Dr. Thompson shares a strong argument for, and a vital guide to, this brief loosening of ties. A great champion of summer camp, he explains how camp ushers your children into a thrilling environment—an electronics-free zone, a multigenerational community, meaningful daily rituals like group meals and cabin clean-up, and a place where time simply slows down. In the buggy woods, icy swims, campfire sing-alongs, and daring adventures, children have emotionally significant and character-building experiences. They often grow in ways that surprise even themselves.
They make lifelong memories and cherished friends. Dr. Thompson shows how children who are away from their parents can be both homesick and happy, scared and successful, anxious and exuberant. When children go to camp—for a week, a month, or the whole summer—they can experience some of the greatest maturation of their lives, and return more independent, strong, and healthy.
Praise for Homesick and Happy
Both a sublime elegy on the pleasures of camp and an indispensable guide to drawing the most from those indelible days, this unique book grips like a novel and instructs like an authoritative text. Michael Thompson pours his heart into these pages, along with his unsurpassed wisdom about children and their parents. An instant classic.Edward M. Hallowell, M.D., author of Delivered from Distraction: Getting the Most out of Life with Attention Deficit Disorder
With a deep understanding, a great sense of humor, and impeccable resources, Michael Thompson succeeds brilliantly in generating just a touch of envy in the hearts of all those parents who read Homesick and Happy … for the great fun their kids are going to have.Harriet Lowe, editor in chief, Camping magazine
Every parent dreads letting children go. Partly, we dread it because we lack a clear roadmap of how and when to do it. Homesick and Happy changes that. It is a powerful and very accessible book that helps build maturity and resilience in our children – and in parents as well!Michael Gurian, author of The Wonder of Boys and The Wonder of Girls.