In my last post about being an organizational culture bearer I quoted Max De Pree from his book Leadership Jazz. I now share the context of that quote because I believe it provides weight to De Pree’s quote as well as a deeper understanding of what it means to be a culture bearer.
“Esther, my wife, and I have a granddaughter named Zoe, the Greek word for ‘life’. She was born prematurely and weighed one pound, seven ounces, so small that my wedding band could slide up her arm to her shoulder. The neonatologist who first examined her told us that she had a 5 to 10 percent chance of living three days. When Esther and I scrubbed up for our first visit and saw Zoe in her isolette in the neonatal intensive care unit, she had two IV’s in her naval, one in her foot, a monitor on each side of her chest, and a respirator tube and a feeding tube in her mouth.
To complicate matters, Zoe’s biological father had jumped ship the month before Zoe was born. Realizing this, a wise and caring nurse named Ruth gave me instructions. ‘For the next several months, at least, you’re the surrogate father. I want you to come to the hospital every day to visit Zoe, and when you come, I would like you to rub her body and her legs and arms with the tip of your finger. While you’re caressing her, you should tell her over and over how much you love her, because she has to be able to connect your voice to your touch.’
Ruth was doing exactly the right thing on Zoe’s behalf (and, of course, on my behalf as well), and without realizing it she was giving me one of the best possible descriptions of the work of the leader. At the core of becoming a leader is the need always to connect one’s voice and one’s touch.”43.928283-85.286682
I remember a conversation with the youth pastor from our church in Grand Rapids the day after he had taken a group of students to a big Christian concert. He said something to this effect, “whatever this musician said on stage the kids would go crazy. He would say ‘you should read your Bible everyday’ and my kids would scream and jump up and down. I don’t understand it, I’ve been telling my kids they need to be reading their Bibles, but whenever I bring it up, I just get blank stares. Why can this guy, from stage and in such a short period of time, have such a powerful voice in my students’ life?”
The answer to this amazed youth pastor is simple – there is transformational power a person experiences when they hear an often repeated message in a fresh voice, spoken in a different context.
This is why going to camp, having a camp experience, is so powerful, so life changing. At camp kids hear the same message they’ve heard repeated at home, at church or in school. But the voice is different; it’s a different person, at a different age, and many times from a different place in life speaking the same message in a totally different environment – camp.
And it breaks my heart to say this, but it’s an experience that happens so rarely in a young person’s life outside a camp experience. Why? Because there are so few experiences for kids that offer this combination of fresh voice spoken in an exciting and adventuresome context that also aligns with the voices of parents, church and school.
It’s why at SpringHill, we believe so strongly that all Kids Need Camp.
Have you experienced the Power of Camp? If so please share your story, it might encourage others to help a child have the same transformational experience this summer.43.928283-85.286682