The eleven-year-old is off at Boy Scout camp this week. He was excited about going, and didn't seem at all reluctant or concerned about going off for a week without me. For the past 4 summers he's gone to Cub Scout camp, but I was always along. The only thing he showed any anxiety about was tying his boots. The hiking boots are the first shoes he's ever had that had to be laced up. He's always worn velcro or slip-on shoes. He hasn't mastered tying them in a bow-knot. He ends up with a granny knot or a square not that he has trouble untying.
I was talking with some of the other parents of the first-year scouts after the convoy left on Sunday morning. One of them said their son had been crying the previous night about going off by himself. One of the parents with an older scout said we'd be impressed at the change in our sons when they got back after their first year at camp--they would be noticeably more mature and responsible. One of the other first-year dads said he be thrilled with just a less-immature and irresponsible son. I said I'd be happy if my son could tie his own boots properly.