“Mummy, may I please not go for the camp next year?’ ‘Which camp?” I asked over the phone. “The one she is going for,” he said referring to his elder sister. “She told me I would be required to go for it as well next year,” he said, genuinely worried.
I had to hold myself from bursting out in laughter because I was conducting a training at the moment. When the phone rang I had picked it because I assumed it was about a life threatening issue. That very morning, big sister was headed for a two weeks residential camp for children between 6-18 years dubbed Ekisakaate kya Nabagereka.
Big sister had been significantly clear she did not want to attend the camp to the extent that she pointed out to the younger brother that his turn was coming. I could understand her about the camp but over and over again, life has emphasised the lesson that we are a sum total of the experiences we go through. These are things children will only appreciate with hindsight.
So mama bear must put her foot down and create as many such opportunities as possible. She must invest in the deeper things; lessons which cannot be erased from the souls of the children. Buildings can be sold off, money in the bank can be spent but nobody can take away the memories, experiences, values and character developed out of a multiplicity of experiences, encounters and connections built over time.
But most importantly, activities such as the Ekisakaate, keep many holiday makers from spending days glued to the TV, borrowed smart phones and hanging out at shopping malls. Many sleep at 4am and wake up at midday, sit in front of the TV, eating, and eating some more. Of course towards the last week of the holiday many will remember the unfinished holiday work and try to finish it in the short time left.
Parents are better off investing in productive activities where the children will be forced to think outside the box while creating networks and relationships.
The world only grows more dynamic and it will take a high level of being intentional and deliberate about the way we live to be able to adequately cope and conquer the future.