Society has changed in many ways since we were kids. The astounding progress that we’ve made over the course of a generation has made our lives infinitely more convenient, but that convenience has come with a significant cost…our patience. The downside of progress is that we have become an instant gratification society.
Comedian, Louis CK, has a very funny bit about how we’ve all come to demand expediency in every facet of our lives, from air travel to technology. He points out that we get frustrated if our cell phones don’t connect immediately, and then points out that we should give it a minute to wait for it to return from outer space.
Even though I think that he makes a valid point, I am certain that the next time my cell phone lags, I am going to be very frustrated. It’s the nature of the beast that we’ve all become, so we shouldn’t be surprised that patience has become something of a lost art for the generations that have never known life without Internet, cable television, cell phones and all other technology that has made our lives more convenient.
Unfortunately, the by-product of an instant gratification society is that kids want and expect to be good at everything that they try, and they get frustrated when it doesn’t happen right away. This is one of the reasons why it is often times challenging to get them to leave their respective comfort zones.
Getting better at anything requires a willingness to fail and the patience to persevere. For the most part, both attributes are difficult to instill in children in their day-to-day lives.
Summer camp is the ideal setting to get kids to leave their comfort zones and try new things without the distractions of technology or the fear of failure, because they are doing so within the confines of a peer support system. The beauty of camp is that kids are given the opportunity to choose electives based on their current skillset while also partaking in group activities that may open their eyes to new pursuits that they never considered before. Summer camp may very well be the last bastion of patience in an instant gratification society.
Written by Adam Waldman