By DENENE MILLNER
It's not that my daughter, Mari, is shy; she hasn't had any problems making friends. She's just super quiet, really big on staying out of the spotlight, and focused on keeping things in order. And she won't befriend you unless you earn her friendship.
These are some of the things I admire about my 10-year-old. I like to think it makes her wise beyond her years and maybe, too, that these characteristics will help her steer clear of peer pressure when she's a teenager. Still, there are times when her cautious demeanor makes it a bit of a struggle to fit in.
This was certainly the case a few summers ago when I enrolled her and her little sister in an art camp not too far from our home. The brochure promised a top-notch art experience, but what Mari got on that first day was a roomful of loud, trash-talking campers who picked fights, tossed chairs and ignored the teachers, who spent more time yelling at the kids and trying to get them in line than they did actually teaching art.
Needless to say, this didn't go over well with Mari.
Visibly shaken, she announced that she wasn't going back like, ever. Which, of course, wasn't an option because A) I paid a lot of money for that camp and I wasn't about to let it go to waste, and B) I'm not raising punks.
Now, please understand that I'm not saying money is more important than my child's safety and comfort, or that I prefer Mari to fight rather than flee. But her father and I discussed the incident and thought it was more important for our daughter to learn a few lessons.