It is interesting to be placed in the same dorm with junior high boys between the ages of 11 - 14 for an entire week. As the counselor, you find yourself as a disciplinarian more than a counselor. It reminds me of being a levy along a river, placed there for the here and now, but as we all know, nature has a way of over-taking the boundaries man puts in its way. So, we may tame a river during our lifetime, but the river can certainly erode, flood, and overtake what we put in its way.
Not that these boys were of a mind to do anything terribly wrong, but if given the chance, they might stay up well past their bedtime (taking away swim time curbed that). They might be a little more aggressive in the field of play than is good (go tell him you are sorry). They might blurt out language not fit for church camp, and in simple terms, they may bully someone where teasing goes past acceptable (do an act of kindness for the person you just humiliated). Beyond that, though, it wasn't anything that an old man and a college-aged kid couldn't handle.
And aren't they like the adults they learn from (parents, teachers, mentors, others)? Sinner/saints? Luther said something along the lines of "saints are sinners too, but they are forgiven." Saints in his mind meaning followers of Christ. Yes, we adults test the boundaries as well as our children.
Peter says it this way, "As obedient children, do not be conformed to the passions of your former ignorance, but as he who called you to be holy, you also be holy in all your conduct." (1 Peter 1:16). We are assured through the resurrection that our sins are forgiven and that we are clothed in the righteousness of Christ, but "If we say we have no sin, the truth is not in us." (1 John 1:9).
Pray a prayer of thanksgiving for our youth. Pray a prayer of thanksgiving that they have opportunities to grow, and that we, as their caregivers, take time to grow as well, in order to teach, lead, and care for them as they move into their own faith lives.
Hope Men's Ministry