“Children have never been good at listening to their elders, but they have never failed at imitating them.” James A. Baldwin
I grew up at Camp Sharon, a Church of God campground at the Lake of the Ozarks. Because of this unique situation, my early memories include far more people than my immediate family.
Youth camps always ended on Saturday mornings and no matter who you were, if you stood around too long, you were put to work! My family and any campers, counselors or other visitors that were staying the weekend joined efforts to prepare the camp for the following week. This included many Saturdays of cleaning toilets throughout my childhood! But after a few hours of teamwork, we’d all get cleaned up and head out for a day of fun! Ensuring that no one was left behind, my parents would coordinate the group for an afternoon of mini-golf or go-karts then took everyone out for a nice dinner.
As the camp caretakers, my family had the unique opportunity to host campers, counselors, and other visitors often. My parents displayed open arms, welcoming everyone into our home and into our lives. The way they exhibited hospitality taught me more than they could have ever spoken. I am truly grateful for their example of including others and making people feel like part of our family.
It’s easy to forget how much children learn from observing the way their parents live life, but we should never discount the power of setting an example!