Just some thoughts:
“I told you, I am not going.” I once said those words to my dad when I was a young teenager. I told him I had to play baseball, I had a lot to do that summer.
He came home from a meeting and told me I was going to camp; a church camp. Efforts were being made to begin a new camp and my parents were going to be supportive of that effort.
The housing arrangements at the camp where the boys stayed were pretty rustic. Two boys were assigned to a tent with several tents arranged in a circle. Mike Chumley and I shared a tent, and Kent Cottrell and Stu Ringer were in the tent next to us.I had known Mike previously, but we had not been really close friends or around one another a great deal much before this week.
I would not have had that experience if I had been given my preference not to go. We developed a friendship and a bond that last up until his death four years ago. I will only say, you have never lived until you have spent a week in a tent with Mike Chumley. Today I would pay good money to be able to re-live the experiences of that week. A number of good things happened that week that I have and never will forget.
That week became very important to me because of the things I learned, others I met and relationships that have had a lasting effect upon me throughout my life. Looking back, I can say that week proved to be one of the best weeks of my life; and it all happened because my dad would not allow me to say no. A parent not allowing their child to have the final say in a matter they felt was best for the child.
Interestingly, years later as our family was living in New Jersey this experience was repeated; only now I was the dad and our oldest daughter was the one voicing her disapproval with being told, “You are going to church camp.” Likewise for her, that week proved to be a very positive experience with friends and relationships were formed for life, as it did for me, her father.
Maybe the lesson to be learned here is… sometimes in life we are told something that we have decided we are not going to do and we balk at such; but we should give it a second thought. It could end up being an experience you learn from, really like and one that plays a very important role throughout your life.
“Who knows, it could be one of the best weeks of your life.”
It was and still remain one of mine. For a lot of reasons.
January 4, 2016
Posted April 18, 2019