In yesterday’s blog, I mentioned that every graduating Senior Camper writes a personal mission statement. I realize that most of your have campers that are much younger and are many years from the Senior Camper program. As a result, I am reluctant to write about the teens two days in a row.
But having just heard their mission statements, I feel compelled to honor them with some thoughts.
[Note: Dodger Ma'am (the camp basset hound) added little to the reading or listening process, but managed to photo-bomb this picture.]
I wish you could have heard their writings. I don’t know about you, but I read a fair amount of criticism of this generation. They are often described as being entitled or lazy or self-absorbed, etc. But we saw true evidence to the contrary. If you heard what we heard this evening, I know you would be incredibly hopeful for our future.
We heard several themes.
First, most talked about the inevitability of failure and how they will embrace it as an opportunity and not a curse. They know that their lives will face far more change and flux than ours did, so they are preparing themselves for their future challenges.
Second, they talked about their roles in others’ lives. They did not place themselves in the center of the story, but saw themselves as inexorably braided into the lives of others. They know that true meaning comes not from the self, but from relationship and community.
Third, they understand the dangers of perfection. They embrace their flaws and see their imperfections as features, not bugs.
Fourth, they understand that life has no one goal, but is a journey. They want to savor moments and enjoy the process of becoming, while knowing that they will never complete the process.
Fifth, they did not talk about “being happy”, but “finding joy”. Compared to joy, happiness has a self-centered quality. Joy is what you experience with others.
These young people accepted this exercise and I know they will be better for it. I hope these mission statements will serve as compasses that help point them remain true to their values when they experience the difficulties (and triumphs) in their futures.