Once a session, except during the holidays, our family workers meet with the parents of the boys at camp in what we call Parent Group Meeting. Primarily, it’s a way to learn about some of the basics of camp philosophy and structure. It’s also a chance for parents of campers to meet each other, swap stories, and encourage each other.
At one of the last meetings, Chief Andrew talked about problem solving. We all know about problems because every person in the world deals with a few. At camp, there are four basic steps to working with problems.
1. Identify the problem.
2. Come up with a few possible solutions.
3. Try one!
4. Evaluate the outcome.
If it doesn’t work, go back to #2 and pick a different solution. Too many times we look at problems as something to be afraid of and avoid at all costs. But problems really aren’t to be feared. They just mean we need to evaluate what needs to happen. At the end of the meeting, Chief Andrew gave us all a little peg game. Remember playing these at Cracker Barrel? The idea is to jump one peg at a time (you can start with a blank hole wherever you prefer) and remove the one you’ve jumped. If you jump them all and are left with one peg, you’re a genius. If you have three or more left, well, let’s just say the Cracker Barrel version has less than flattering names for people like you!
After we played twice (some of us did better with a second chance), we watched a presentation of how to jump every peg successfully. Don’t you wish life were like that sometimes? Follow this three step program and everything will end perfectly. But life doesn’t seem to work out that way. Sometimes that means parts of life are painful. But maybe that’s also why life is so beautiful, so rich, so fulfilling. When things get hard, we want to jump through (preferably over) the struggle to get to the other side. Sometimes, though, it is in the struggle itself that we learn the most about ourselves, about life, about relationships, and about God.
Chief Andrew gave us all a chance to write about the evening, just like the boys write about their day at camp. Here’s one synopsis.