This weekend is Mothers Day which gets us at Camp Riverbend thinking about our mom, Marianne Breene, who, along with our dad, Camp Director Harold Breene, started Riverbend 49 years ago in 1962.
Marianne Breene, who still works full time at camp alongside the rest of us, immigrated to the United States as a 17 year-old refugee from Nazi Germany. She has worked with young children as a teacher and school director for more than 60 years. She and Harold raised the four Breene children, who you know as Assistant Directors Roger, Jill, Paul and Robin, while helping to run camp and getting her college degree as an adult.
Here is a short list of the things we learned from Marianne:
1. When telling something important to a child, only use as many words as the number of years of the child’s age, so 5 words to a 5 year old, 10 words to a 10 year old. Fewer words have a bigger impact!
2. If you can read, you can cook. When we moved from our parents’ home, our mother gave us a cookbook and that very useful instruction. Also, when you are cooking, always make a bit more than you think you will need, in case someone drops in unexpectedly.
3. Always grow something in your home—flowers, vegetables, herbs…Growing plants bring beauty and savor into our lives, and teach us patience.
4. Talk to people! Marianne is famous for talking to people she meets sitting next to her at the theater, in line at the supermarket, on an airplane, playing bridge, or anywhere else. Our connections with other people are vital to our own health and well-being, and need to be cultivated!
5. Children need both unconditional love and firm rules. Knowing they are loved gives children confidence to tackle the world and achieve many wonderful things. Knowing there are expectations for their behavior gives children security and helps them grow into responsible adults.
6. Finally, she taught us, and the rest of the Riverbend staff, the most important lesson of all–how to give out ice cream to a group of children fairly, so that everyone is happy with their choice.
What have you learned from your mother?
Have a great Mothers Day.
Only 55 days till camp starts. We’re getting ready!