Sunday’s Reflection: “Be At Peace”
As I reflected, I thought about how we must be at peace.
It’s something that I haven’t done the past two months. I’ve trained for the upcoming school year but spent too much time stressing over the previous one. The agendas, politics and depression stemming from a major class change late in the second semester left me recovering, not re-charging from the 2018-2019 academic term.
Monday, preparing for a five-day camp with my church–Houston Northwest–a voice started to speak to me, saying: “shut it off.”
Shut what off? The outside noise.
I listened to the whisper–putting my phone on Airplane mode–ceasing outside communication for the duration of the trip.
Normally, I stay plugged in, so I hoped that I wouldn’t miss anything important. Phase 5 of MCU(Marvel Cinematic Universe) films being released, LeBron no longer being considered the G.O.A.T or a family emergency come to mind.
Once I arrived in Trinity, Texas for the Centrikid “All-Access” camp, I realized that getting “off the grid” is exactly what I needed.
Eliminating contact with the outside world, I could focus on who and what was in front of me: the kids and a serene environment.
The former exhausted me and the 2nd/3rd grade counselor. How many times can you go to the gift shop in the day?!?! (Apparently an unlimited amount of times.)
Tuesday, the first full day of camp, was one of adjustment. I had no idea the energy it required to supervise kids from Breakfast to Lights Out with bible study, tracks(breakout sessions) and worship in-between.
Wednesday, knowing the pace of the day, it was easier to manage energy. (Coffee in the morning helped a bit.)
Trey Smith, the camp pastor, shared a few gems during his morning sermon.
1. Leaders need to grow daily.
2. A Gospel-led ministry leads kids on a mission.
Nice reminders for our true purpose in shepherding children.
Thursday, I got up early and walked to Lake Livingston. Hearing the birds chirp, seeing the fish swim and spending time with God, relaxed me. I stayed until the sun came out.
A few hours later, there was a cool sequence at a bible study. It started when one of the Centrikid leaders asked the counselors to facilitate a discussion of the lesson: Jesus Heals the Lame Man.
So, I led the kids through two questions, which were literal. For the third question, an inference, I gave the campers A/B partners and asked them to discuss: Why did God reveal his power to the lame man?
Not only did I give them a partner, but I supplied them with a sentence stem: I think God revealed his power because…(I was doing too much. Always in teacher mode.)
They talked for a minute-switching turns talking at the 30 second mark. After they talked, I solicited a few answers. The first two responses were surface level, so I pushed the kids to think deeper.
Then one child responded: “Because he loves everyone, and no one is different.
I loved her response, but I wanted a complete sentence, though.
After hearing me repeat the stem, she said: “I think God revealed his power because he loves everyone, and no one is different.”
Shortly after the bible study, I struck up a conversation with another camper, who I developed a friendship with the previous day over our admiration of Nintendo games.
He was part of that discussion group, so I asked him if he liked being able to turn and talk.
His response: “Yea.”
Me: “Why do you like partners?”
Camper: “Brainstorming with another person is better than brainstorming by yourself.” (Kid has an extensive vocabulary.)
Later at dinner, I told that camper’s counselors that he was a good kid. They told me that he had a rough year. (Maybe he needed a friend.)
Friday, Centrikid did their final celebrations and the various churches departed. My church arrived in Houston around noon. We unloaded the buses ,and then I headed home.
At home, I found myself finally getting excited for the 2019-2020 school year. I invested in proper technology by purchasing a personal document camera, updated the Teacher bookshelf and scoured the waiver wire to build the classroom library.
Then I came to the decision that I didn’t want the camp experience to be…a camp experience. Taking a cue from my cousin, Cyrus, I deleted my Instagram, work e-mail, Workplace and turned off my Facebook notifications.
I’m ready to Be At Peace.
I leave you with two things.
1. Are you at peace?
2. If you’re not at peace, why do think that you’re not?
1. What did you like about the Reflection?
2. What do you want to know more about?
Application: Write down some tangible steps you can take to be at peace.
Jeremiah Short, Educator