Friday, June 24, 2011

What Winning Means to Us

Oh joy, the lessons of summer camp. You win some you lose some. Rainy days make Camp Helene more challenging, but we choose to embrace the non pool days with other games and activities.

After I won the parent prize at the Market District earlier this week, my son, the genius, won the jelly belly guessing game. CJ was the closest child to estimate the actual number of beans in the container. He guessed 788 and there were 780. He was off in the calculation by 8 friggin beans. Math wizard or just some dumb mazel***?

I ventured to the store and activity center to collect and to allow the kids to play and craft under their supervision. This summer camp counselor used the opportunity to drink a latte and catch up on all the trashy gossip magazines.

Needless to say, CJ was totally excitedto take home a jar of 780 artificially flavored and artificially colored candies. His fellow siblings were very happy for him, but they wondered how this was going to work out- for them. Cue the drama.

Since childhood is all about life lessons and enrichment, I had to give CJ the choice of what to do with the candy. I explained that it was his, fair and square. He won. He could eat them, save them, share them or give them away- only he could decide.

At age five, he made a wise and diplomatic ruling. He told me the other kids could have all the orange, purple, pink, red, and fuchsia jelly beans and that he would eat the other colors. He knows that he can't have any of the candy with red dye, so that automatically made his division easier. Believe me, there were plenty of green, yellow, white, blue and black one left one the colors were segregated.

I doled out the jelly bellies in a method that was fair- using a dixie cup to give each child their share of the winnings. It is amazing how you can encourage small people to get buckled by offering two jelly bellies to the kids who get themselves ready to go. I used these tiny candies to motivate the masses. Some might call this bribery, I call it incentivizing- six of one, half a dozen of the other- it is how I am surviving here at Camp Helene.

This week my campers have learned about winning-sharing-dividing- and all four of them made it through a whole week of camp without permanent damage to their spirit.

It is what winning is all about- it is what winning means to all of us.

***Mazel
Good fortune, luck or a congratulatory wish for success
Maaa-zul
With his Mazel, Jeff should buy a lottery ticket.

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