Camp, my favorite place on earth, is 5 days away.
I. Am. So. Excited.
While I’m super pumped, I’m also nervous.
Camp is where I most feel like myself…
It’s also where I become very aware of my faults, the places where I am incredibly inadequate to handle the situations I encounter.
Some of the questions the kids ask, the situations they’ve been through, some I can relate to, but a lot of the times I can’t…and that makes me nervous.
I’ve been a counselor since my freshman year of high school; I’ve encountered tons of different scenarios, many emotions, and had a lot of practice with kids. While I’m not a rookie when it comes to camp, there are some conversations I’m pretty sure I’ll never stop being nervous about. Here’s 5:
1) Boy problems: I just don’t get it. Girls, especially high school girls, are obsessed with boys…bleh. [Sorry boys, but you make my job as a counselor much more difficult.] I grew up with boys, I have 3 brothers, but I can’t remember a day with less than 5 boys running around my house. While I grew up with boys around and can talk to them as friends, when it comes to relationships…I have no experience. This topic is probably the most breeched around camp, but the one I dread the most.
2) Discussing divorce: A lot of the campers I’ve had in the past have had divorced parents. I’ve been extremely blessed to come from a family where both parents are committed and totally in love with each other. I can’t relate with the hurt that these kids are feeling. Why their parents left each other, I don’t know, but I do know that it wasn’t their fault, and this is what I try and reassure them of.
3) Bible questions: I actually love these questions…but then again I hate them. Okay, I’m indifferent. I love discussing controversial issues, but sometimes I fail terribly at explaining Bible verses when they are taken out of context. These kids have heard a lot of things- from their parents, friends, pastors- sometimes [or all the time] these things don’t all add up. Things get misunderstood and that’s when it gets difficult. When it comes to the Bible, sometimes the best answer I can give is, “I don’t know.”
4) Drama: I hate, I mean dislike, no loathe, better yet DESPISE conflict! I avoid conflict in every way possible. Deep down, I know it can’t be this way, but the little kid in me wants to know why we cant just all get along. Drama is just people pouring on conflict. Yuck. When my kids start talking about the drama in their lives, typically I think there’s something that they can be doing to fix the situation; gossiping and complaining about it gets you no where.
5) Rape: Sometimes I wonder if God designed me with a magnetic field that attracts girls who have been hurt in a way I wish didn’t exist. I’ve never had a cabin of girls where there hasn’t been at least one girl who’s been affected by rape. When this happens, I am required by law to report it. I have to pay extra attention to what the girl says, then after talking to her, write everything down, then report to my director immediately and recap everything I’ve heard and then give them the written account. I hate this. I feel like I’m betraying this girl because she trusted me enough to tell her about this. While I really dislike this conversation, I know that God’s placed me in this girl’s life to love on them and let them know that they are worthy of love.
What are some conversations that you get nervous about having, whether as a mentor figure or just in general? How do you handle difficult situations?