As most of you know by now, this week I had the immeasurable pleasure of serving as a counselor to 6th grade boys. Without any training. Coming off a week as a camper. It’s a good thing I’m a person fairly confident in my abilities to handle small children. It’s also a good thing I serve an awesome God.
My cabin of 8 boys is probably best described as being the crazy cabin of the week. Apparently every program of every week has one, and I was the lucky recipient this week. Now, most of the boys weren’t actually insane– that’s not what I mean by crazy. Let me describe it this way: You know how a lot of times speakers ask questions like, “Are you excited to be here?” Well, whenever something like that happened my cabin was close to being as loud as the rest of the Jump Start boys put together. Heck, they were close to being that loud every second of the day barring rest time.
I’m not the loudest person in the world, or at least I’m not usually, so getting these boys to listen was my biggest challenge of the week. At the same time, their remarkable garrulousness was a huge boon to me. You see, when I wanted them to talk about serious things, digging responses out of them was never an issue. What I had thought would be one of the most difficult aspects of counseling wasn’t a challenge at all. Instead of merely working to get my campers to participate, I found myself refereeing lively discussion that I barely needed to instigate at all. The discussion wasn’t always positive, but at least it existed.
One night or morning, during chapel, Dangerous Dave happened upon the topic of Adam and Eve’s nudity in the Garden of Eden. He spent a few minutes talking about how weird it is to think that we could all be walking around naked right now if it weren’t for sin. The kids found the whole thing quite funny, and I found the faces they made in reaction to the segment even more so.
Before bed each night, it was my habit to give my campers a chance to ask any question they wanted. This brought some interesting results. The very first night we got into the old-earth versus young-earth debate, and when I say “we” I mean “my campers”, and when I say “debate” I mean “argument”. It took me five whole minutes to break up a debate that devolved to:
“The earth is billions of years old.”
“Yes it is.”
“Are you an idiot?”
“My science teacher told me…”
You get the picture. Eventually I managed to convince them that during question and answer time, I was going to be the only one answering or talking at all outside question form. Then of course, I had to field the ever-popular question, “Do you have a girlfriend?” and of course it’s followup, too, “Why not?” Once we got beyond that, though, they asked some really great questions.
The night after Dave gave his message where he talked about the Garden of Eden, one of my campers asked me what heaven was like. This was a question I was well prepared to answer. I just used some material from the message Ken Rudolph had been giving all summer where he talked about heaven.
Soaking this in, one of my campers asked, “So heaven is perfect, then, right? Just like the Garden of Eden.” I still didn’t know where he was going with this. “So, then, will we have to wear clothes in heaven?” It’s moments like made me love my week as a counselor.