I have to admit, I try not to consume too much world news. It focuses too heavily on death, destruction, and all that is negative in the world today. Unfortunately, the world can be a very cruel and unforgiving place, and nowadays we seem to be chronically tuned in to horrendous scenes in Syria, Ferguson, Paris, the Congo and Columbine (to name a very few). It seems almost inescapable at times. While I don’t believe in hiding from the atrocities surrounding me, I also don’t expect the problems of the world to be fixed by others.
So many of us expect that the ills of the world to be undone by our elected officials, our military, and our heads of state. True, they play an important part, but I believe that permanent change for the better begins in our own homes, in our own schools, and even in our own camps. I am a firm believer that if you want to create a world rooted in kindness, honor, truth, and justice, you begin with your kids. That, in turn, means it all begins with parents, teachers, counselors, and your network of friends and family.
This grassroots view of changing the world is a central theme in my own organization, Kidventure, and a driving force for what we do at camp and why we do it. There is no doubt that camp provides our kids with the opportunity to be active, have fun, and learn a ton. Just the thought of summer elicits images of exploration, discovery, new-found friendships and adventure, but there is a much greater theme that should be at play and a more important intentional focus. Camp provides a comfortable and fun environment for kids, meaning we have a unique opportunity to teach them some of life’s most important lessons.
Taking the time to be deliberate in our actions is paramount to our children growing up to do the same for others. The power in teaching kindness and goodness in your kid isn’t that he or she will grow up to do the same, it’s that they will grow up to teach others to do the same. It is the exponential factor that will change our world and will lead future kids to not pick up arms against each other and to accept others for who they are.