Last night I got to sit with teenagers who inspired me.
On the second Saturday of each session, we schedule a special event for the 10th and 11th grade Senior Campers. It is on camp, but we are a long way away from the main campus. The place is special and reserved exclusively for this night and it becomes the site of introspection, sharing and reflection.
These 16 and 17 year-olds talk about their parents and the gifts their parents gave them.
They celebrate each other. Their oddities are not sources of annoyance but evidence of individuality. They acknowledge differences and even occasional conflict, but they also rise above these moments to understand that they can be more than just a group of individuals.
I hear them speak of their legacies - as future parents, as current leaders, as contributors to their communities.
They are open about saying "I love you."
They thank their counselors and division leaders for acting as beacons.
When other people bemoan this generation, I wish they could join Susie Ma'am and me on nights like this. When others call this a generation overly focused on itself, I would show them 10th graders helping 7 year-olds. When they declare that technology is compromising our humanity, they should listen to our conversations under stars and by campfires.
Certainly each generation has its challenges. This one HAS been over-praised and is often over-protected. They do rely on technology for communications that are better handled face-to-face.
But the best of them are among the best of us.
And that is a reassuring thought.
Stumping Steve Sir
When we have Man Cave and the Senior Camper sessions in the house, we will occasionally have a few minutes free at the end. When this happens, I always invite the campers to ask any question that they may want. I tell them that it does not have to be about camp: "what is the meaning of life?", "why do bad things happen to good people?" (BTW, they never take me up on these two questions).
Over the years, I have developed answers to virtually every question. Occasionally, I will get stumped.
I got stumped recently.
Here is the exchange:
"How do you get such" a hot wife?
What do you do with this? My mind went in several directions at once.
My first reaction was "wow, will Susie Ma'am love to hear about this!!"
My second reaction is "my wife's 'hotness' is probably not an appropriate topic".
My final reaction is "why are you surprised that I have a hot wife?"
Luckily, the bell announcing the end of the period rang at that moment.
Better to keep them wondering.
Hmmmm. How DID I get a hot wife?