Cherished or tolerated?
When I look at this picture of my daughter and her camp counselor I see the same mischievous smile that often appears when I ask about a pile of sand in her bed or after a cracked egg ends up on the counter instead of the pan. What I don’t see, however, is a head shaking in frustration… instead my daughter is being cherished for exactly who she is.
The things that make us truly unique are seldom welcomed into everyday life. The day dreamer impedes classroom progress, the inquisitive talker takes things off topic, the young adventurer cannot sit still, the deep thinker is considered a “contrarian,” and the quiet observer needs more social integration. The pressure of life creates a desire to streamline the people around us and in the process we learn to tolerate uniqueness instead of cherishing it.
If busyness is the problem, camp is the perfect solution. When we step out of a context that is task-centered and into an environment that is person-centered our uniqueness becomes something to celebrate rather than something to hide. At camp mischief can be facilitated into adventure. At camp questions are welcomed as learning opportunities. At camp quiet observation is steered towards God appreciation.
In Psalm 139:14 David heralds God’s creative work in each of us. “I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made. Wonderful are your works; my soul knows it very well.” Our uniqueness is an opportunity to praise our Creator. When we love and appreciate others for who they are, we honor and glorify what God has done.
More than campfires and cabins, more than wild games and exciting discoveries, more than evening sessions and all day adventures, camp provides a place where people matter. Where you matter. And where the things that don’t matter are covered up with a healthy amount of dirt and a mischievous smile.