Monday, July 17, 2017

Camp Hair, Don't Care!

A few weeks ago, I dropped my baby off for a full week of overnight camp.  While she hardly considers herself a “baby” (because she is 6 whole years old and has completed kindergarten, for goodness sake), to me she will always be the baby. Over her “6 whole years,” she has watched her siblings head off to Sky Ranch for weeks of awesomeness, knowing that, eventually, her day would arrive. 
As we shopped for her trunk and fun camp supplies, it suddenly dawned on me that this little cutie had never washed her hair on her own.  And now I was sending her off for 6 whole nights – swimming pools, campfires, sweat, and lake water – completely ill-equipped to manage that lovely long, dark, easily-tangled hair.

So, I decided to do what I normally do in these situations – make a plan of attack to solve the problem before it became a problem.  But somewhere in the middle of one of the many hair-washing practice sessions that week, the thought struck me loud and clear:
Who Cares? 
Why was I spending so much time concerned with whether she could wash her hair when I should have been concerned with the state of her heart?  Was she ready to receive all God had for her during the week of Bible study?  Was she equipped and confident enough to start conversations and make new friends?  Had I taught her how to lean into the Father when faced with things that seemed scary and unfamiliar? 
Immediately convicted and face-to-face with my own insecurities, I had a long conversation with my Father.   I reminded Him that I want to be a good mom. I want to teach my children all they need to know, and personal hygiene is part of that teaching. 

But He reminded me of His Word:
"Charm is deceptive, and beauty is fleeting; but a woman who fears the Lord is to be praised." Proverbs 31:30. 
As a team member at Sky Ranch, I have the awesome privilege and unique perspective of watching campers and counselors, day after day, in the amazing environment that is Summer Camp.  Crazy, mismatched clothes and wild hair are the norm.  Glitter, face paint, and tutus with dirty tennis shoes are standard camp attire.
When my boys were younger and packing for camp, my main concern was whether they would brush their teeth.  Gym shorts and tee shirts always go together, and I sent the ones that were about to be moved out of rotation, knowing they would get stinky and dirty and could easily be tossed out. 

With my girls, however, I became a different kind of camp mom -- buying cute matchy-matchy outfits and fun pj’s -- and making sure the bedding matched the towels that matched the trunk that was over-loaded with coordinating glitter stickers and rhinestones. 
Don’t get me wrong.
I am all about the fun that is preparing for camp, and sending kids away for a week with the “stuff” that helps them have fun and explore their uniqueness is part of the experience.  But freaking out about whether my daughter would have “camp hair” in the online photos was pushing things past what my grown-up, spiritually mature self could swallow. 
So I told her. 
In the best way that I could explain it to an incoming first grade girl, I broke down I Peter 3:3-4:
“Your beauty should not come from outward adornment, such as braided hair and the wearing of gold jewelry and fine clothes.  Instead, it should be that of your inner self, the unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is of great worth in God’s sight.”
Camp is one of the greatest places on earth. A place where kids are free from the trappings and expectations that surround them every day. 
Camp should be a place to focus on relationships with God and others, and to spend time having crazy, wild fun, learning about what it truly means to be a child of God. 
Camp should be a place where joy overcomes the junk the world puts on our children, where space exists for our children to be who they are – "camp hair" and all.

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