::coming down the mountain::
Great news, your son or daughter is returning from camp, which we are hoping may have had some truly significant spiritual implications. They had the chance to be in community with other students and create new memories with leaders that spent the week investing in them. Often we find that parents’ first inclination when their student gets back from camp is to ask their kids a number of basic questions:
“Well, how was it?”
“Tell me what you guys did?”
“Did you have fun?”
“Meet any new friends?”
“Are you closer to God now? ”
These are perfectly reasonable questions. However, students may not know how to articulate exactly everything that went on at camp. It may come across as rude or unappreciative to you but trust me that isn’t always the case. They may have prayed in unique ways, met with God in new forms, confessed things to God that they’ve held secret for a long time. All of those things can be difficult to put into words. So, here are a few things to help in talking with your son or daughter after the Camp:
- Prepare to be an “outsider” to their experience: The students went away on an experience in which you were not present. Trying to play catch-up on the way to lunch after camp might be a bit much to expect of your student. Let it be their experience.
- Tell them you missed them: Let them know that you are glad to see them. Let the first words they hear when they return home be words of affirming love. And, let those words come in the midst of a loving embrace: “It’s so good to see you. I missed you. I’m glad you’re home.”
- Let the experience have it’s own “breathing room”: Homework. Schedule. Practice. Returning on Friday means that the school week begins the in 2 days. Avoid talking about school obligations immediately upon returning. Students are generally aware of what is ahead of them in the week. Allow them some transition time back to the world “down the mountain”.
- Pray for them while they’re gone. Tell them how you prayed when they return. Pray that your son or daughter will experience God’s love in a significant and perhaps, new way. Then, when they return, let them know you were praying for them — specifically about how God’s love might have been revealed over the last couple of days.
- Create space: Give your son or daughter the opportunity to talk or not talk about their experience by saying something like: “It sounds like you guys had a really great time. Whenever you’re ready to talk about what you experienced, I’d love to hear about it.” Allow them to find the time and place to talk about their experience.
Thanks for the privilege of trusting us with your son or daughter.
Jr. High Pastor