By Aaron E. Ziebarth
Recently I was reading an update from a friend in Italy. His words reminded me that everything we do has a big impact. The “little ways that listeners interact with children in Released Time have a big impact. The little ways that counselors interact with campers at summer camp have a huge impact.
Let me share my friend’s story:
On Saturday afternoon I was at my friend P’s home where I sat across the table from his son, Francesco, who has just turned five. Between us lay a chess board, all the pieces standing in their rightful place. You see, this little boy has a precocious skill and passion for chess and I had come to his home largely for the reason of engaging him in a game. In 30 minutes it was over. Ok, I maybe haven’t played chess in 30 years, and I never was great at it but I do know the moves and I don’t think I was ever terrible at it. This little boy cleaned my clock in 30 minutes, checkmate, game over.
As I was pedaling home afterward I got a text message from P, Francesco’s dad. He wrote that, after I left, Francesco told him that I was his best friend. I smiled at the thought. A little focused time with a child, affirming his value, encouraging him in his skill, perhaps a bit of love was transmitted, and he had caught it.
Years ago I would have given this experience very little value in the sense of spiritual significance. Now I see it differently. Every opportunity to transmit value to people is like a reflection of God and the value He places on people. Walls break down and when that happens fruit starts to ripen.
It dare not be a ploy. It must come from the heart. The wonderful thing is that we all have such opportunities every day and they are as different as people are.
We are excited about the opportunities at summer camp, when trained counselors will share the love of Jesus Christ with children. Year after year this proves to be such a valuable time. God loves and values each child highly. “Jesus said, “Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these” (Matthew 19:14).
Christian Summer Camp, Released Time Bible Program, Children, Summer Camp, Christian Retreat Center, Chess, Checkmate, Little Children