Christian camp or conferences for upper elementary and teens can be an affirmation of parental instruction.
When I was a teenager (this is Carol), I was a counselor at a girls’ camp. It put me in contact with some Christian women who looked at things differently from my mother…especially social issues and food. I’ll never forget the white bread, peanut butter, jelly, and applesauce centered on each table 24/7! In addition, some of their applications of scripture made me start thinking scripture our for myself. I’d never been exposed to their particular slants.
The lesson here is that it is good for teens to hear others’ views. It helps them sort things out for themselves. I had been well-grounded in the Bible as the only source of truth. I had already been urged to think about what I heard from others and evaluate whether it lined up with scripture. But, I hadn’t had much practice. I had not heard many adult opinions outside of those of my aunts and uncles and Sunday School teachers. As a result of this new exposure, I did some thinking for myself. Thus began a life habit of searching the scriptures when controversies came up. So camp was a valuable experience.
Don’t rob your own children of exposure to other’s ideas. Discussions around your table can teach them to reason and think about spiritual and social matters within the boundaries imposed by God. That is IF you have cultivated a safe haven for all…not a controlled environment where only your ideas are “right.”
They need to hear about “matters indifferent” as well ….where the Bible leaves things open to opinions. It seems to me that a parent’s responsibility is to pose questions and facilitate thoughtful discussions on controversial subjects as a means to teach thinking skills. This is far different from isolation and shutting teens away so they won’t fly toward sin.
Mind control won’t work; it often causes a strong will to burst the chains that bind them. That doesn’t mean that you can’t have clear boundaries and show that consequences of one’s choices can hurt. The Bible certainly draws clear boundaries. Sexual purity is one. There is no ifs, ands, or buts about that marital boundary no matter what society may debate. In contrast, modesty is a different story. What has to be covered varies with the culture and climate. I am wearing sandals and shorts today. My great grandmother would never have done that. Why is it okay for me and not for her? A good question to pose to your daughter along with a few more to stimulate thought. Does she know the definition of modest? Why should fashion designers set our standards?
Anyway, you get the two points. Summer camp can be a valuable experience. Learning to think through their own application of biblical principles produces young adults who are more equipped to stand on their own two feet.