Heading to school with our oldest who is driving on his temporary driver’s permit, something caught my eye. We’ve done the trip together 80 times or so with me in the passenger seat and I’d not seen this before.
On the right side of the road, a regular, every day road sign was glimmering and dancing, like it was alive and producing light from the inside. Of course, it wasn’t. It was just a road sign. But yet dance and shine it did. It’s play of light was fun to watch for the five seconds it took us to pass by.
I looked expectantly at the next sign, about 250 yards up the road. It stood stolidly in place, showing it’s warning and nothing else.
Of course, the dancing sign was moving because the wind was hitting it just right. And it was glowing because the angle of the rising sun made its reflective properties come alive. And yet that combination of factors made the properties of that normal, everyday sign come alive and show something… beautiful.
I think we’d all agree that there is equal worth in every human. Considering you are 99.9% alike genetically with everyone else on earth, I hope you’ll agree! And yet, despite that almost indistinguishable sameness, we are so different. Different looks, colors, innate talents and predilections.
What it takes to make one person’s talents, interests, and whole-being come alive is different than the next and the next and the next.
The key is to keep looking for those moments and situations that draws out the best, the true, the pure inside. Like that sign coming alive, it takes a combination of factors. I would posit it takes the melding of community and aim.
At camp, we get to create a ‘kids focused’ community. We aren’t worried about test scores, sports results, fashion faux pas, or work. It’s all about the kids… and the staff. We’ve shown at Weequahic that kids with different accents, languages, experience and knowledge can get along beautifully.
As songwriter Ani DiFranco has said, “I know there is strength in the differences between us. I know there is comfort, where we overlap.”
For us, that overlap is the central idea of worth, isn’t it? We come together already knowing each of us is valuable beyond measure, full of joy and potential. We just need the right combination to set all that good free.
So, we come together and form a community with enormous potential. What unlocks that stored potential is the aim.
When we are all pulling together towards a common goal, we create a sum greater than our parts. We create waves and currents that scoop up others to join in, something together that is meaningful, wonderful, and so much fun. We take that community and make something more: a family.
At Weequahic, we use the ideas of gratitude, attitude and courage. We’ve found these ideas to be bedrock principles on which we can build a community that turns into a family, especially when ‘fun’ is the mortar that holds it all together.
When we combine ‘community’ and ‘aim’, we get a whole of shine and a whole lot of dance. We get people young and old who come alive, aware of their true selves and open to honestly showing the world.
So, the trick, then, is figuring out how to create that same combination of factors when we aren’t at camp, isn’t it? How do we build a community around ourselves in the world that is full of people busied by their own lives, aspirations, and pains?
Intentionally. Thoughtfully. Courageously.
Collect the people around you that help bring out the best. People who challenge you, hold you accountable, love on you, and support you. Friends who’ll laugh along with you and cry by your side. Those who’ll be open and honest and listen when you are brave enough to speak.
Be patient in building this community back home. It takes thought and effort and the bravery to be open. But, creating a environment that helps you dance and shine may be the most important thing you can do. Not only will it unlock you but it will help others enjoy the show. Have a great week!