On the issue of visiting day in summer camps, for the most part, the men have been in favor of abolishing visiting day, while mothers and grandmothers are often up in arms over even suggesting something as horrible as not visiting their children.
I am not going to take a side here. I will, however, share a shocking statement that someone made to me last Sunday, when I did not go to visit my children in sleep-away camp simply because it was too difficult for me to do so. The comment was, “Well, then, don’t be surprised when your kids go off the derech.”
Huh? Dear Matzav readers, is this how far we have come? That my children will go off the derech because I did not shlep for three hours each way to visit them in camp? Have we lost our sanity?
Of course, his correspondent was being ridiculous. Not visiting one's kids at camp on visiting day will not, in and of itself, send one's kids off the derech. However, it does send a message to the child that s/he's not worth the shlep up for a few hours.
Personally, I find it difficult to understand how a parent can miss visiting day at camp. Yes, granted, sometimes there are bona fide reasons for not going (medical emergency, must work, live an excessive distance away, etc.). But to not go simply because you feel it is "too difficult" is, in my humble opinion, simply wrong. It tells the kid that they are not important enough to bother yourself for a few hours.
My kids are older now, but when they were in camp, I made sure to make the shlep from the city to the country every visiting day. Yes, there were times that I dreaded the trip itself, the traffic and the crowds, but I still went anyway. It's important for kids to feel that they are wanted and appreciated. Not going to visit on visiting day (again, absent some bona fide reason) just sends the message that they're not worth it -- even if that's not the message you're trying to spread.
And perhaps, the extra positive message that you send by visiting will help to keep them on the derech after all.