Monday, July 17, 2006

I Have Seen My Past

It has been more than 10 years since I last worked at a summer camp. Back then I was the fresh-faced, college student who turned the heads of teenage girls. Not anymore. There is a new crop of college students and my wrinkled grill cannot compete. I’m now the guy the speaker points to last when he wants to make a point about age not making a difference. I’m older than some of the camper’s parents. But I still feel a passion for camp and campers, and I’ve easily got as much energy as those fresh-faced punks.

My friend Shawn directs an amazing camp for 5th and 6th graders at Camp Yamhill. Last year he wrangled my wife into joining him and this year I got to go too. I knew I would enjoy it but I was unprepared for the impact it would leave on me. Kids at that age have not yet learned that they should be “too cool for school”. They invest 100% in everything they encounter: games, laughter, friendships, meals, worship, etc. They have not been taught by life that they should hold back. Spending time with them was invigorating. It was inspiring. It reminded me of how I want to live.

And so in them I choose to see my future.

14 Comments:

Blogger Johnny said...

"Kids at that age have not yet learned that they should be “too cool for school”. They invest 100% in everything they encounter: games, laughter, friendships, meals, worship, etc. They have not been taught by life that they should hold back."
This is a sad commentary on our culture, that you learn not to be open, but have to put on a "front" so that you mesh with the group. Too often this is carried over into the church and it is hard to overcome.

Oops, sorry to put a damper on a positive and upbeat post. So I guess it is up to "older ones" to lead by example and be more open and encourage honesty in relationships with others and God.

Mon Jul 17, 11:51:00 AM PDT  
Blogger Carol said...

Sounds like a great outlook, someone has said age has more to do with how you think than what your age is. Keep doing new things and give it that 100%.
Excited about seeing you soon.

Mon Jul 17, 11:52:00 AM PDT  
Blogger Jason Hill said...

Don't feel bad Dad, I think you hit it right on the head. For some reason we are taught that we should not invest 100%. Maybe it is because we have invested in the past and it left us vulnerble? Perhaps some well-meaning authority wants to keep us from breaking the rules, so they tell us to hold back? Sometimes we just want to be different and if pulling from the group and not investing is our way of expressing individualism, then that is what we do.

What I saw this week was an age of kids that haven't learned that yet and I want to be like them.

And yeah, it happens at church. I don't have to work as hard at getting the kids to invest in worship like I do the Sunday morning crowd.

What we need, as you note, is more adults and mentors that put it all on the line and invest 100%.

Mon Jul 17, 02:43:00 PM PDT  
Blogger rebecca marie said...

i'm so glad for you that you got to experience this. my favorite age is actually the current session, the seventh and eigth graders. they are different people depending on who they are with, and i LOVE that about them. they don't have any idea who they are and they are struggling to figure it out. i just pick the nicest personality that each child exhibits and nurture that one.

i have two desperately different kids. a boy who if asked will say "everyone in my class is my best friend," and a daughter who, well, lets just say i have to remind her to be sweet sometimes.

it always breaks my heart a little when i think that the special gift my son has will most likely be taken away. someone will probably teach him about popularity, and outside beauty, and about the "dumb kids," and the "poor kids" (i was both and i'll tell him so). and it kills me to know that he is so close to finding those things out.

i just have to pray that he is one of the rare people who hangs on to the life you described. i don't want a cool kid with twenty "friends." i want a nice kid with two or three real friends.

and in the meantime, i'll pray that my daughter doesn't tease other kids until they change schools.

Mon Jul 17, 05:22:00 PM PDT  
Blogger Jason Hill said...

RM, it sound like you have your hands full. I'm rooting for you as you nurture your kids, I think they are pretty blessed to have you in their lives.

Speaking of 7th and 8th, I'm pretty bummed that I can't be out there this week.

Tue Jul 18, 08:58:00 AM PDT  
Blogger rebecca marie said...

i'm so bummed about not being out there that i may just drive out there. i crashed third and fourth, why not seventh and eighth, too?

Tue Jul 18, 01:57:00 PM PDT  
Blogger Jason Hill said...

yeah, I'm thinking Thursday.

Tue Jul 18, 01:59:00 PM PDT  
Blogger rebecca marie said...

funny, me too, but witness is performing at the park next to the sunnyside village center (where living streams used to meet) at 7:00 in the evening, so i'd have to be back by then... huh... yup... i'm soooo taking the kids thursday.

Tue Jul 18, 02:34:00 PM PDT  
Blogger Lori Ann said...

RM~Tell Nathan hey for me, if you can figure out which one he is, or you could to Jason.
He would hate it if we showed up, early!

Tue Jul 18, 02:58:00 PM PDT  
Blogger rebecca marie said...

i'll hunt him down, lori!

Tue Jul 18, 03:35:00 PM PDT  
Blogger Jason Hill said...

Did anyone see this awesome picture of Tabitha, the mail brandishing pirate?

Tue Jul 18, 04:38:00 PM PDT  
Blogger rebecca marie said...

i love her. that's why i'm visiting this week, for real.

Tue Jul 18, 07:49:00 PM PDT  
Blogger Jen said...

are those dreads hers? Scary and impressive all at the same time!
My brother is a great example to me of a friendly guy who loved everyone. I hope my children will be like that but I live in fear of popularity...

Sun Jul 23, 06:24:00 PM PDT  
Blogger Mike said...

This particular description of your "age" means you are ripe for owning a mini van or station wagon!

Thu Jul 27, 08:14:00 AM PDT  

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