Editor’s note: I thought I published this a couple of days ago, but it is still sitting here as a draft so I am publishing it now. Also, look for a new installment of Fun Stuff for Friday later today.
I went to youth camp for the first time in four years last week. It was a shortened camp because of the 4th of July, but I took along my oldest son and another young man from our church and drove 10 1/2 hours one way to have a couple of days retreat away from it all. In doing this, I was reminded of a couple of reasons why I still love youth and working with young people.
1. They can be really frustrating one minute and really amazing the next. Funny things happen with teens. Between the ever-unpredictable changes in mood and topic, you get the occasional real nugget of inspiration from those guys. I started to question my own sanity a couple of times near the beginning of the trip and the first day of camp too; but by the end of camp, I was not only glad I had done it, I am making mental plans to do it again next year.
2. It is good for all of us to get away once in a while. This camp is somewhat remote, so cell phone service is basically nonexistent. While there is some wireless internet signal in the camp, it isn’t much to speak of either. For the better part of two days, I was mostly cut off from the phone, internet and a lot of distractions. This was a good thing for me. I have been getting into the habit of taking a weekly Sabbath from my electronics each Saturday and I have certainly enjoyed it. But the temptation is always there to pick up the netbook or phone and just make a “quick check” of emails and such. We all need away time. Teenagers need this time more than most. They have grown up in a world that is so hyperconnected it is startling. Before we were even two hours away from camp, the older teen in my van (the one who isn’t my son) was already involved in 4 or 5 text conversations with people he had just said goodbye to at the camp. If you are a young person, I would encourage you to slow down and unplug from time to time. It is a healthy thing.
Moving on from camp, I have just been made aware that there has been a request for disaster relief chaplains in Minot as the situation in human terms gets more difficult. Battling floodwaters is far easier than dealing with the human condition (especially under pressure from stress). Please pray for me and others who will deploy to help in Minot in the coming weeks.