Summer Learning

While many of our campers have already been enjoying school for a few weeks, most will be starting on Tuesday of next week. I know everyone would be excited to just get back to camp instead of picking up the math books. Campers, remember, you will learn important things at school, too.

As we prep for the buses to roll and get dolled up for those ‘first morning’ pics, I’d like to remind you of a few things you learned this past summer that will help you through the first few days (and longer) of school.

Turn It Up

When we turn up joy, we turn down fear. When we turn up generosity, we turn down envy. When we turn up humility, we turn down false pride.

Humility is a great word and even better way to live your life.  The word humility comes from the Latin word ‘humus’ which means ‘fertile ground.’ That’s ground on which lots of things can easily grow. Humility doesn’t mean thinking less about yourself but rather thinking of yourself less and others more. It’s about serving and celebrating others rather than serving or celebrating yourself.

So, when we turn the humility knob up to maximum blast, what happens to the false pride knob? Right – it gets turned down. Here’s a question: how do we turn humility up? What’s the key that will unlock the dial so you can turn it up?

The key is gratitude.

Realizing that you’ve benefited from others actions – be it your friend, your parents, your camp counselors, Yaweh, Buddha, Jesus or Mother Nature – is the first really big step. Saying ‘thank you’, especially if it is heartfelt and honest, is wonderful. Do that in school and I guarantee you’ll turn heads for all the right reasons.  

Cups or Fires

Will you treat your brain as a cup to be filled or as a slow moving fire search for new ideas? If you feed the fire, the light, the warmth inside you with new information and old wisdom through connection and questions and curiosity, you’ll go far. The stuff on your phone, tiktok or insta or snap… most of that stuff is just entertainment. It doesn’t feed your fire. In fact, I’d guess the long-term effect is actual a dampener on your fire than a fuel.

In fact, there will be a lot of fuels that don’t work. Others will give you a quick burst but go out just as quickly. But, if by experimenting and searching, you find the right fuel for the long, slow burn. Tend that fire well and it will burn brightly for a long, long while.

In my experience, the best fuel is an attitude of curiosity and of humility.

It may seem easier or cooler to live as though you know everything already. That’s your choice. And you get to live with the consequences of that choice. You can choose to be ungrateful, spiteful, uncaring. You can choose to use terrible language and decide not to listen to people who truly care and want the best for you.

Or, you can choose to be grateful, thoughtful, patient, curious, kind, honest, helpful and friendly.

Remember, your choices make you who you are. But you want the best news? If you find yourself making bad choices… you can change.

Courage to Connect

It takes courage to go past your comfort zone and connect. It’s lot easier to be furious rather than curious. There is something very old inside us that wires us for big emotional reactions and for keeping to our own. These impulses probably kept the human race limping forward.

Now, that mentality holds us back. Campers, you are lucky enough to live in time when things would be considered miraculous to any human living before you from 1960 until the dawn of time. As a parent once wrote, imagine dental work without pain killers…. Yeesh!

It takes courage to put yourself out there. It takes courage to reach out. And, the reward for doing so completely and totally outweighs the opposite. Yes, you might feel awkward. But, as you learned at camp this summer, it’s important.

Reach out. Be yourself. You are more than enough.

Swim and Howl

Be aware of the little things around you. Be kind to the bus driver, the custodian, the Lunch Lady. They are a seemingly small part of your day but their work makes your life easier and, in most cases, a lot better. The ‘water through which we swim’ at school is full of a lot of fish – some big, some small. They all deserve to be treated kindly.

And, while we have fish swimming all around us, remember you’ve got two wolves inside you. One is Good and the other is Not. The one that wins is the one you feed. Choose wisely.

Camper – have a great year at school. You learned a lot this past summer. Now, go put it into practice and make the little world around you a better one every day.

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