How S'mores Could Change Your Child's Life this Summer

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By Dannah Gresh, founder of True Girl

A summer camp snack may seem like an insignificant bit of fun, but in my research on childhood development, I stumbled across a study that changed the way I view campfire s’mores forever. Today I want to share how something as simple as a s’more could impact your child’s lifelong struggle with identity, healthy relationships, and even depression.

When you think back on your childhood, what do you remember most?

Sometimes, it’s the simplest things that stick with us well into adulthood. I’ve never forgotten that every year at summer camp, my mom was faithful to send me a care package with the same snack: Goober Grape and Ritz Crackers. The tradition made me feel so loved and remember by my mom while I was away from her for the week. To this day I'm transported back to that loving feeling every time I taste that nostalgic snack! After experiencing the power of Goober Grape to communicate love, I carried the tradition on to my daughter when she went to summer camp.

It was only deep into my research into the social science of raising tweens that I discovered why that memory of my mom’s love stuck with me all these years. It’s because our favorite campfire snacks can be much more than a tasty treat. This month, I’d like to challenge you to use the power of a campfire s’more to make an eternal impact on your kiddo’s heart.

So what’s the secret to making a life-changing s’more? Let’s dig into the science.

Psychologically, our identity is heavily influenced by three things: our experiences, the memories we make, and how we interpret those memories. One of my favorite counselors, Peter Kuiper, always says that children are great observers but terrible interpreters. When we leave our kids to make sense of their experiences in this world on their own, they often begin to believe lies that last far into adulthood. And when we try to work through these lies after years of believing them, they are much more complicated to uproot. A main portion of my ministry has been working with men and women to help them find freedom from lies that they began to believe at just 6, 8, and 12 years old! Our best hope for protecting our kids from these lies is to address them when they’re just newly-formed observations.

Here’s where the s’mores come in.

One proven method for protecting your kids from these lies is making a culture of storytelling, reminiscing, and sharing within your family. Studies show that children whose parents encourage them to reflect on the day’s events and process them together develop better coping mechanisms and problem-solving skills, resulting in a stronger sense of identity and reduced risk of depression. When you hear what your child has observed and how they’re interpreting it, you’ll be able to guide them in focusing on the Truth, and debunk any lies that might be cropping up. When you gather your family around a campfire for some sweet s’mores and good conversation, it isn’t just some summer fun. It’s actually the easiest way to prepare your kids for the world.

In His Great Love,



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