Souerce: Times of Israel
Sometimes, as parents and educators we forget about the learning that takes place outside of the classroom. With all of the discussions currently going on about how to change what happens within the school building, we sometimes forget the valuable life lessons that can take place in the most unexpected locations and at the most unexpected times.
This summer my oldest son attended Bnei Akiva’s Camp Amichai. His cousins had attended the camp for several summers and always seemed to have a great time. Yet, I was very apprehensive about letting my son attend. For starters, three weeks is a long time, at least here in Israel, to send your kid away. My Israeli friends could not believe that there was a camp program in Israel that was this long. Three weeks may not seem like a long time, but the longest he had been away from home “on his own” before this was three days! It was actually my wife who convinced me that our son was old enough and that it would be a good break period for all of us. For anyone who has ever raised an eleven-year-old, you know that the everyday routine is not without its ups and downs. Okay, good point about this 3-week break, but that was not my only reservation.
My son has now been home for a week, and the behavior changes have continued. He has been more polite, and has even performed chores without being asked. Yesterday, at the Shabbat table, for the first time ever, my son was eager to join me in singing Zmirot (special Shabbat songs) and even taught me a new song he had learned at camp. Now, I know that no kid is perfect and as with every child, there will be good days and bad days. What I do know however is that this time away from home had what my wife and I have started calling, the “magic touch.” In many ways, my son came home a different person. So, despite the length of camp, the Anglo environment, and the cost, I can say that this experience was more than a success.
As a teacher, this experience has made me think about the education that takes place outside of the classroom, and how important it is to make sure our kids are in the best environments. Math and science are easy, as they can be taught from a book. Behaviors and our general outlooks on life though, are at least in part, dependent on the environments in which we place our children. As parents and as educators we need to remember this. My son’s summer experience proved that locations and even certain groups can have a profound effect on a person’s development. We are grateful to Camp Amichai that the effects have been so positive.
Read the entire article on The Times of Israel.