Posted by Larry in

I returned earlier this afternoon from summer camp after having spent the last four days with about 200 3rd-5th grade students. It was absolutely fantastic, but I must say that I am ready to sleep in my own bed tonight.

I have attended this particular camp for four years, and it seems that each year we seem to work in a healthy morale building game of dodgeball. Each year myself and my good friend Jeremy look forward to this single evening of competition. We get a small bit (no that's not true, it's a great bit) of demented pleasure from pulverizing our competition. The evening usually starts by pairing one camp team against another until there is a winner and then the teams are mixed up a little. It might be 3rd & 4th grade vs. 5th grade, boys vs. girls, or the winning camp team vs. everyone else. But what we long to hear the game moderator say is, "it's time for kids vs. counselors." Jeremy and I give each other a look as if we have just been asked to play in the Olympics. Suddenly it is time to show our stuff and put the "smack down" on these "smack talkin" kids. It usually ends badly for the kids and we are accused of being a little rough by some of the female counselors.

So... We showed up for camp again this year and as soon as I saw Jeremy we began discussing whether or not dodgeball would be on the menu again this year. Much to our delight when they gave the instructions for the evening, we indeed would be mixing it up on the dodgeball court. Things flowed a little differently this year. We began the action with a boys vs. girls game and then the moderator asked the students how they would like the teams paired. Almost in unison the majority of the students began shouting "kids vs. counselors, kids vs. counselors!" Ahhh... It was music to my ears.

On the other side of our evening competition I could not quit thinking about the eagerness of these young ones to square off against their adult chaperones. As I reflected on the moment the question was asked, it was the boys that were most eager to try and dish out some embarrassment for the counselors. And then as I always do, I asked, "Why?"

Here are my thought on why I believe these children, in particularly the boys, were so passionate about a kids vs. counselors match.

1) Boys love the spirit of competition. These boys wanted nothing more or less than to beat the socks off the adults. Losing was not an option. They began letting us know immediately that they intended to win. Which makes me wonder why we organize games in such a way that there are no winners and losers? For most boys, this eliminates any reason for competing.

2) Boys are conquerors. It wasn't enough that they just wanted to win. This group chose a team that they knew they were not supposed to beat. It was great that these boys had just beaten the girls in the boys vs. girls match and solidified for themselves that they were physically superior to the their female counterparts, but now they wanted something more. There was another group on the horizon that challenged their superiority and it was time to settle this matter.
How many times have you told the boy in your home, "you are not able to do that" or "you are not old enough for that?" Only to be met with "oh yes I am, just let me try" or "give me a chance and I'll show you." Boys were created by God to push the boundaries, to dream the impossible, and to do what others say cannot be done. So I suspect that next year some of these same boys will be looking to redeem themselves from this years loss and anticipate an opportunity to take what is rightfully theirs. Victory.

3) All kids are looking to earn the respect of the adults in their lives, especially boys, and what better way for a young one to earn the respect of the elders than to challenge them and beat them? Today I am a little more sensitive to the other ways in which my son and daughter are looking to earn my respect. I pray that I am wise enough to recognize those moments.

I am looking forward to two more weeks of camps. I anticipate God has more to teach me. Stay tuned to see what's next.

This entry was posted on Saturday, July 11, 2009 at Saturday, July 11, 2009 and is filed under . You can follow any responses to this entry through the comments feed .