Monday, June 29, 2009


“Just a warning: Kristin is a bit. . .boisterous, maybe a bit outspoken, a handful.”
This is what a father told me as he dropped off his daughter and her 5 friends for Junior camp on Sunday. As they giggled, ran around, and screamed with delight, he walked out the door saying, “You girls have fun!” Ha.
Well, Kristin is a lot of things, most often, difficult. She actually reminds me a lot of how I was as a kid: center of attention, feisty, bossy. We’re doing okay. If she was my only camper it would be different. But it is Kristin plus 8 more, rounding out a lovely 9 rowdy girls.
Camp has taught me a few things I never could’ve learned anywhere else. Not in another state, with other staff, or other campers. The lessons have been site specific and I’m grateful.
I’ve learned that campers are more self-sufficient than I first believed. During blind camp I was freaking out in fear for their safety at the pool or walking from place to place. The truth is, life has taught them toughness and the ability to get through just about everything I assumed they’d need assistance with. While there were plenty of times they needed help, I found that if I just waited for them to ask, I spent a lot more relaxing instead of over-assisting.
Junior camp this week has taught me a similar lesson. Mostly from exhaustion, but partly on purpose, I realized very quickly that I couldn’t solve every problem, resolve every conflict, or ensure fairness to all. They want to earn honor cabin by having the cleanest cabin every week. That does not mean that after they partially clean-up that I go do it for them before inspection. I leave it be. When I was about to break-up a fight that I was sure would result in a bloody nose, about who got to shower first, the most assertive of the bunch, Kristen, said, “I’ll make a shower schedule” and that was that. When the girls were arguing about who would get to sit by me, I told them to resolve the issue and they agreed to take turns. When the lights-out rule was not followed and the cabin was not clean last night, I made them come up with their own punishment and they did and so today they are being quiet in their beds for every minute they took from me yesterday.
I’m learning to relax around them. Their immaturity, mood swings, and pettiness do not have to be my own. I can be who I am even amidst these cute little turkeys who threaten my sanity.
I’ve realized that helping others makes me feel good, gets me out of my head. When I start beating myself up for something I ate for breakfast, I have to help my girls clean the cabin and get them to line call on time. When I start comparing myself to the beautiful, thin, blond counselor up the hill, I have to go teach basketball. When I start hating who I am, I have other people to focus on other than myself. It feels good to serve some purpose, to be doing something to help someone else. Everyone likes to feel needed.
I’m slowly learning in the ins and outs of a dating relationship. Jeremy and I have been dating for 6 months, but most of it has been long distance. I’m learning how to communicate, to ask for what I need, to give him space, to support him, and love better. That comes with its challenges. I’m learning to be conscious of our “pduh”, or PDA, especially around campers. That makes for a fun game.
One of the greatest lessons I’m still learning is how to be my own version of spiritual. The pressure to close my eyes when I pray, or sing every song is tough when 120+ sets of eyes watch my every move. How do I be a spiritual example to young kids when I’m still trying to figure this out myself? Which leads me to another lesson…
I’ve learned that it’s okay to be honest with kids. It’s ok to admit when you don’t know the answer to a question. It’s okay to show them who you really are. Being super human with kids only leads to false expectations. Let’s not start them on the perfection parade quite yet. Being who I am gives them permission to believe they are good enough as they are.
As my girls sneak in whispers and giggle in the next room I’m learning to let things go, to take deep breaths, and do my balanced best, lessons I wish I’d learned long ago. Lessons I’m learning.


Anonymous said...

let hear it for learning and for being honest