Would you not agree that the joys of childhood are incomparably sweet? No matter how old you are or how grown up you act, is there not a part of you that you undoubtedly miss — that of being a kid? Do you not sometimes have a longing for a time that was free of responsibility and full of discovery; a time that allowed you to imagine doing great and exciting things; a time of fun that was spontaneous and chaotic, unplanned and exuberant; a time to be full of mischief, good humor and uncontrollable laughter; a time of pure joy that went straight to the heart, the taste buds, the funny bone — joy that no one could take away from you — the kind of joy children feel all the time and adults experience only too rarely; a time of living in the moment. Where there are no expectations other than that you play, dream, wish upon a star. . .
Likely those of you who still are kids are all too anxious to grow up and no longer being viewed as “just a kid.” I remember wishing the same thing when I was back in grade school, middle school, high school . . . In fact, it is only in adulthood — and in being a mom who has watched my sons, Aaron and Nathan, grow up much too fast for my liking — that I’ve come to realize what an incredible time my “kid-hood” truly was. It’s a time that I can only recapture in my memory. It is a time where, were I able to relive it, I would not necessarily live it differently or change its events; rather I would do my best to hold onto my “kid-hood” and treasure each and every day. And I’ve no doubt that Kamaji’s parents, at times, wish as I sometimes do “Oh to be a kid again. . .!”
In fact, I’m reminded of a summer when a long-time Kamaji camper/staff member, Jenny Mendelson, introduced a game called Battle Ball which the entire camp community played up on the archery field. For those of you who have never played — Battle Ball is kind of like DodgeBall except we use lots of balls at one time and players continually rotate in and out of the game. It’s difficult to explain unless you’ve been there, done that! Suffice it to say that the game is a lot of fun!! There was an occasion when the campers were playing Battle Ball where there were many parent visitors present. Several parent spectators, who had been watching the game from the sidelines, asked if they could join in to which I replied “Certainly!!” Thinking myself much too old to join in, I instead chose to sit out the game. Remarkably though I could not help but notice how much the parents got into the game — they were just as involved as any camper and staff member — laughing, running, dodging the balls, taking careful aim to hit someone with the ball. Ye Directors (included Mikey who was playing too) allowed the game to go on as long as possible and only reluctantly were forced to end it as nighttime and darkness descended upon camp. Surprisingly, the parents were the most vocal in their disappointment that the game had to end. One dad, huffing and puffing as he came off the playing field, said “I haven’t had this much fun since I was a kid!”
I can still recall how “sad” it made me feel to think that this very grown-up, successful business man, loving husband and doting father had not had the kind of fun he had that night playing Battle Ball since he had been a child. And it was only by being a part of a camp game that he (and I!) was reminded of what we so easily lose hold of as we grow up — that carefree time of life that allows us to become what we are. . .a time of smiles, hugs, a kind word, truth, justice, peace, dreams, imagination, making angels in the snow, tossing a coin with a wish upon it into the fountain, believing in magic. . .
How precious. . .how irreplaceable. . .how irretrievable. . .how truly priceless. . . childhood is!! And now, if you’ll excuse me, I think I’ll go wish on a star, fly a kite or roust the neighbors for a game of Battle Ball. . .