With school starting up, and everyone looking ahead to fall, it can be easy to leave Youth Camp (YC) behind us as something we did in the summer and not something that can help us throughout the year.
So the question is how can we as parents take what God did at YC and use that to help our kids in everyday life? How do we parent- post YC? Some of this will depend on where your kids are now that it’s been a couple of weeks since YC. There are probably many “post-Youth Camp” categories for various kids, but let’s look at two that are really common.
First, there are many kids who have simply forgotten what we learned at Youth Camp. As parents we can encourage our kids to remember by asking questions like: So, what did we talk about at camp? What was it that you were convicted or encouraged about? God’s people have a good track record for forgetting how good God has been to them. That is why it is good to record and recall these occasions in our life, and YC is no exception. So, if your kids have forgotten what God was doing at camp, this is a great time to revisit that with them. Have them write down (if they have not already) the things that were significant to them from camp. Another way to bring Youth Camp into real life is to go over our theme: Guided: How the Living God Leads Us In Life (through the Bible, Counsel, Prayer, Providence, Gospel), and talk about how these topics may play out in the coming year. For an example how does the teaching on providence help them with the teachers they have been assigned etc. How can they prioritize being guided through God’s Word and prayer this coming school year? Sometimes the structures and schedules of the fall are great opportunities to put new habits in place. Taking some time to remind your kids of how God showed His goodness to them through Youth Camp, and showing them how to take the teaching and apply it to real life are two great ways to help our kids in the weeks and months ahead.
Another common post-youth camp category is a kid experiencing the let-down that can happen after a “mountain top” experience. At first this feels like a downer, but it can also be an occasion to ground the truths we learned at YC to real life. This is a great parenting opportunity as we take time to remind our children that they are disciples of Christ and have been called to a faith walk. Part of the implications of this is that they are meant to live out the highs of their faith on the ground of this life. If your kids are feeling a bit crestfallen on the other side of camp this is a great time to talk with them about how the things that most impacted them at camp can get implemented into daily life.
Whether your kid’s post camp experience falls in one of these categories or not may we keep before ourselves and them the confidence that God guides his people and he will certainly be guiding us this year. May we also ask God to keep alive (and expand) in us and our children a conviction about giving ourselves more to God, by giving ourselves more to his Word, to godly counsel, to prayer, to his wise providence and to the Gospel of His grace.