Friday, August 9, 2013

CAMP: Blessed to Be a Blessing

"Every man should give as he is able, as the Lord your God has given to you."
~ Deuteronomy 16:17, NLV ~

I have uttered it time and again, "It is my job to train myself out of a job."  Interestingly, that phrase doesn't just mean that I have taught my children to be responsible, independent people.  It also means that I have imparted character, values and faith to my precious kids as well.  Camp helps me with both.

There comes a time in the life of many of our children where they age out of attending their favorite summer program as campers.  The good news is that most of these camps allow alumni to become "buddies," "assistants," or even train into the position of camp counselor.  It is incredible to watch the blessings bestowed upon our children come full circle. 

This is an amazing, understated fact about camp.  While we expect our children to grow emotionally and gain life skills at camp, character is also grown.  In attending our children are equipped to one day give back themselves.  They are blessed to be a blessing.  Most everyone I know in special needs ministry leadership would contend that the Body of Christ is not complete until those with disabilities are not only being served, but are serving and giving back to the best of their ability.  Nowhere is this naturally developed in quite the way it is at summer camp.

I consider myself blessed to have watched the years of scholarships given to my children return in the form of charity and service to others.  This year, our 16 year old daughter will pass on the blessing as she serves her 3rd year as a buddy to a child with special needs at Christian Disciple Farm, a day camp in our area.  Next year, our son will be old enough to qualify as a Counselor In Training (CIT) at the hemophilia camp he attends in Illinois.  These opportunities to give back reinforce our family's values and helps our teens grow character beyond the typical hedonism that often characterizes their phase of life.

Once cultivated, development of our children's ability to serve others, give back, love the least and lost, blossoms far beyond the camp setting.  That's just plain exciting to me!  All the work we do at home pouring into our children seems to be given fertilizer once they have learned to serve through the camp experience.  My eldest now serves through SNAPPIN' MINISTRIES, has gone on missions trips through church, and last week sorted shoes for Soles for Jesus.  Yes, some of this willingness comes from home.  Some of it is fostered by a solid youth group at church.  But camp is also a huge part of learning to give back.

If I have not taught my children to love others, to the best of their cognition, I have failed as a parent.  I need help to do that.  No parent can instill these values in their children apart from others.  I am infinitely grateful for the experience my children have been given.  I pray you seek out the same opportunities for your God-given treasures.

PRAY:  Shape and form my children, Lord.  My hearts desire is that they would glorify You.  Use tools like summer camp to grow them into the people You want them to be.  Thank You for giving us purpose as we pass on Your blessings.

No comments:

Post a Comment