Pearson Cousins Camp launched this year at lunchtime on November 19, 2016. Yes, I know it was Thanksgiving week. The grass was not green, brown leaves were falling off trees, and the pool was already winterized. The warmest and driest Fall I can ever remember finally turned cold, just in time to discourage playing outdoors. Of course, the daylight hours were near their yearly low point.
So, why was I as excited as ever about cousins camp? Why was I not worried about how we’d stay busy without spending hours swimming, riding bikes, afternoon picnics, fishing, or putt-putt golf?
- Ten of the world’s healthiest, best looking, smartest, and most fun grandkids would be with us for almost six days.
- We’d have them all to ourselves while their moms and dads took a break.
- There would be hours of laughter at our house every one of those days.
- We could make special memories doing new things we might not do in the summertime.
- The cousins could strengthen their already deep relationships with each other.
- We’d get to end with Thanksgiving Dinner with the whole family on Thursday.
What’s the purpose?
Influence is defined as, “the capacity to have an effect on the character, development, or behavior of someone”.
At age 69, I still reap benefits from positive influence my grandparents had on me.
Parents carry the responsibility to teach their children. Grandparents reinforce and support what parents teach with words and actions that agree with what they’ve learned from parents.
By the time they’re grown, we will have had influence on twelve human beings who will likely be scattered far and wide geographically. Assuming each one lives an average lifespan of 80 plus years, our influence will be active in this world for a cumulative of 960 years! If we take it seriously enough to make a strong positive influence, some of that could easily filter down to between 12 and 50 more children who’ve been touched by Christian values.
The righteous who walks in his integrity—
blessed are his children after him! Proverbs 20:7
Living away from home, with nine cousins and two grandparents presents a unique opportunity to apply concepts learned from parents about relationships.
Those concepts include social skills like sharing, teamwork, attitude, kindness, honesty, dependability, responsibility, respect, empathy, forgiveness, and love.
Every human being needs a strong sense of security. Trust is the cement that holds together a foundation of security.
The home of grandparents is fertile ground for building trust. The grandkids know they’re safe and provided for when they come to cousins camp.
In past camps we’ve seen a pleasant development of accountability between cousins. Every year we post a set of “Rules for the Week”. It’s amazing how often we notice the kids reminding a wayward cousin of a rule they just broke. When that happens, and the advice is well-received, it confirms a level of trust between them.
Our hope is that the trust they build in each other will carry on and be a resource of support for them long after cousins camp has to end.
For now, at least, all 10 cousins who’ve participated remain fiercely loyal to cousins camp. It’s clear, too that they’ve developed a sense of loyalty to family.
The time will come when some of them find themselves in a situation where their motives or actions come into question “out there in the world”. We hope they’ll remember to call on a loyal cousin for encouragement and, maybe, some loving advice.
Connie and I also hope they see our loyalty to each other, to their parents, and to them in our words and cations.
Last summer when Connie’s dad was under the care of hospice, one of the nurses made an observation that I wont forget. She said to Connie, her sister, and brother, “I can see that you all have a strong support system in your family.”
That’s priceless! The nurse went on to remark about how often such a support system is not available.
A large group of loyal, trusting cousins can add a comforting and encouraging layer of support beyond each family unit. What a powerful benefit to growing up as part of Cousins Camp!
Behold, children are a heritage from the LORD,
the fruit of the womb a reward.
Like arrows in the hand of a warrior
are the children of one’s youth.
Blessed is the man
who fills his quiver with them!
He shall not be put to shame
when he speaks with his enemies in the gate. Proverbs 127: 3-5