by Suzy Goldstein, Ph.D.

Each year, as my three children depart for summer camp, I look forward to them unplugging from electronics and tuning in to the many enriching experiences camp offers. Camp provides children with countless opportunities to make and maintain friendships, explore new activities, and enjoy the outdoors. This year, my youngest son tried out for the camp play and landed the leading role! Having never participated in a play, I was in awe of the confidence he had developed at camp!

Camp also provides parents with many unique opportunities for connection, and not just with a spouse or significant other, also with our children! I absolutely love writing letters to my kids. Can you think of any other time of the year where a child longs for written contact with their parent? When I was a camper, we sat on our beds and waited for the mail to be delivered. To this day, I remember the utter disappointment when my bed was passed over and the sheer elation when a letter was dropped into my hands. I would tear open the letter, lay back on my pillow, and take in each and every word, reading all letters at least twice, often three times! I loved learning how my parents were spending their time at home and cherished all of the dog’s mischievous escapades. As I did, my children save every letter they receive. Now my basement contains all of their letters as well as those I received when I was a camper!

Now that I am on the other side of those letters, part of the joy in writing is anticipating how my children will feel when they rip open my letters. In addition to sharing stories of my summer and sending them well wishes, I value the opportunity to communicate deeper, more meaningful messages through these letters. Can you blame me, I have a captive audience who is actually excited to read what I have written! When I received PJ Library’s recent parent gift, from the Harold Grinspoon Foundation, of note cards I was ecstatic. I received 6 cards in total, three of which were identical. This one special card, of which I was gifted three, quoted the Baal Shem Tov, “From every human being there rises a light.” Instantly, I realized what an incredible canvas this card provided me to remind my children of what a unique and special light they have within. For example, for my youngest, I shared with him how proud I was that he shared his passion for performance with his camp family. Having a beautiful card with such an inspiring quote as the backdrop for my message to my children was such a special gift and one, of many, which makes me feel so fortunate to be a part of the enriching and exciting PJ Library in Philadelphia/jkidphilly community. Our family’s light shines brighter when we spend time reading our favorite PJ Library books together, cook new dishes from the Chanukah recipe cards, or attend a jkidphilly event together within our community. I hope that you and your family take the opportunity to participate in some of these wonderful activities as I know it will be as fulfilling and joyous for you as it is for us.

Suzy Goldstein and her husband, Scott, are parents to three wonderful children, each of whom attend Jewish day school and overnight camp. She has a doctoral degree in clinical psychology and works in private practice at Childhood Solutions, PC, Fort Washington, Pennsylvania, specializing in working to improve the lives of children, adolescents and their families. Suzy is an active member in the Jewish community and is thrilled to share this piece about how much she treasures PJ Library!