My three oldest kids leave tomorrow for kids camp. Jack (9) went last year and had an incredible time. Elliott (7) and Lillie (7) will venture into the woods for a week away from Mom and Dad, studying the bible, playing games, fishing, worshipping and so much more. Jack has been so enthusiastic about camp the past month, you’d think he was in training to the be the camp director. Just the other day he told Elliott, “Now Elliott, you need to be prepared to be a little sad on the last day. Its pretty sad when you have to leave.” All my life growing up though, camp was always a highlight. I remember when I was in middle school not wanting to leave church camp to go to little league all-stars. Simply put, church camp is EPIC!
I actually think we adults can learn a thing or two from our kids who go to kids camp. Here are three things adults can learn from kids camp:
Hobbies are helpful. Many of us as adults have become workaholics. We are way too stressed out by all the demands of life. In extreme cases, we become grumpy and angry and it spills out onto those we love the most. Most of us know we need healthier rhythms if we are going really flourish in life. Is it possible a hobby could be helpful to you? My kids at camp this week will participate in fishing, archery, arts and crafts, and competitive games and will love every minute of it. These activities are part of what makes camp so awesome. Hobbies are helpful to adults as well. They keep us active, distracted from the stress and help us maintain healthy rhythms in life. Hobbies give our brains a break from the grind. Have you found yourself a little stressed out lately? Have you been a little on edge. The solution could be as easy as taking up a hobby. The options are endless.
Community is hard but worth it. Imagine sleeping on a single mattress in a wood cabin with no running water in the middle of the woods for 5 days. In this setting, you learn things about people and people learn things about you that could never be known in any other way. But these living conditions are hard. Walking to the bathroom in the middle of the night down a little trail in the woods does not fill most people’s definition of fun. There is something about this experience that forges lifelong friendships with these kids. Community begins early and their experience in community runs deep. Am I going to now suggest that adults need to go rough it for a week with another group of adults to forge “community”? Not necessarily, though I wouldn’t discourage it. Simply put, we all need community. We all need to be fully known and fully loved. It may be that your first step is inviting someone to lunch and trading life stories. It may be that you invite some friends over for dinner and enjoy a time of extended prayer together. Either way, at camp people get to know you in a very personal way, and this is what God wants for all of us, even us adults.
Slow down. Be still. Seek God. This is exactly what our kids will be doing this week. And this is exactly what God wants all of us to regularly do. The scriptures have several compelling examples of Jesus slowing down and being still to seek the Father (Luke 5:16, Mark 1:35, Matthew 14:23) and the Psalmist actually commands us to be still and know that He is God (Psalm 46:10). Why would we send our kids off for a week to slow down and hear the voice of God and then neglect habits or rhythms like this ourselves? Tomorrow night, all the kids will gather at camp and they’ll review the schedule together. There are specific times on the schedule mapped out for bible study and worship. This week of camp was calendared almost a year ago. That is how it will get done in your life too. Schedule it. Calendar a Saturday morning away at the lake for no other purpose than seeking God. Sign up for that next discipleship retreat you hear promoted at your church. Find a good marriage conference to go to, register for it and mark your calendar. Get away. Slow down. Be still. Seek God.
For all those adults that are going to camp this week to make these EPIC experiences come to life for my kiddos and dozens of others, THANK YOU. We’re praying for an amazing week!