Monday, July 30, 2007

Kids Camp

I just returned home from a wonderful week at Kids Camp. (OK, I got home Thursday afternoon, but I am just now caught up on my sleep.) (I obviously took a break from writing this. I started a LONG time ago.) It was so wonderful, I don't even know where to begin. This camp in an annual event that our church puts on. It is designed for 9-13 year olds and we had about 35 kids there this year.

First, the greatest blessing to me was the 6 young girls that the Lord entrusted to my care. I had met each of them before this week, but I really got to know them at camp. The girls I had were all between 11 and 13, so there wasn't a huge age difference, but personality wise, that's a different story. I had two quiet girls, Emily and Jessica. Both a lot like myself at that age; more into books then giggles and gossip. It took some prodding, but I got them both to open up and chat a little bit with me. Arielle, Karina and Jaimey seemed to get along really well. Pretty social and outgoing, but not ready to act "all grown up" like some of the other girls at camp. I also had Briana in my care. She wants to be on her own, trying to act mature, but when she wasn't paying attention, I would catch a little vulnerability in her that she tries so hard to hide. The girls were supposed to be using the buddy system and most of the week they paired up: Arielle and Jaimey, Emily and Karina, Briana went off with the girls from the other cabin (they were all 13 like her and interested in giggling at boys) and Jessica hung out with the adults. She blended so well with us that it was hard to remember at times that she is only 13. I also spent time getting to know the girls in the other cabin: Mandy, Tera, Alex, Brooklyn, Kami, and Mattie. I had the opportunity to help mend a riff between two of those girls who have a rocky friendship. I think at age 12 most, of our friendships are rocky. But they remembered they love each other and why and were able to spend the rest of the week together. Sunday when we arrived at camp I went to all the girls and let them know I had just about anything they may need: sunscreen, bug spray, band-aids, and of course pads and tampons if they should unexpectedly start. Of course if one does, we all do, so the latter came in handy for just about all the girls at camp. One girl actually started for the FIRST time, and that of course meant a call home to mom. I thought anyone would have to be crazy to volunteer to spend that much time with that many pre-adolescent girls. Turns out, I was right. And I can't wait to go again next year.

I took Korey with me to camp, and I had weeks of stressing about it. Korey doesn't do overnights at friends houses. He likes to be tucked in. We pray together at night. All of this camp stuff was overwhelming and scary to us both. My next blessing came in the form of two teenage boys, Christian and Todd. As soon as they found out Korey is only 7, not 10 as they were thinking, they became extra sensitive to his needs and helped make sure he was included. Todd and Christian were great with all the boys, but they have a place in my heart for helping with Korey so much.

I was very blessed to spend the week at Kids Camp. Thank you for trusting your children to me. I can't wait to do everything again next year, yes, even the rope swing!

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Harry Potter

I am a Harry Potter fan. I have been reading the books since Korey was born, longer than they have been the phenomenon that they are today. I started out by reading them out loud as I nursed or rocked Korey to sleep. As he has gotten older I still read them, but his attention span has shortened and with the movies... Anyway, we are Potter fans. I love reading about the challenges the children face as they grow, the imaginary magic, the battle of good vs. evil. I usually read the books in 2-3 days because I can't put them down, and usually I re-read the entire series before the release of a new book. (Not this time, far too busy.)

Recently, a Christian women expressed her concern to me about Korey's interest in Harry Potter. I kind of shrugged it off at the time, but it has been nagging at me for a couple of months. After asking a few Christians, both from my church and others it seems that I am the ONLY Christian that enjoys the fiction that J.K. Rowling has created and as far as I can tell, the only one who lets (read that as encourages) my son to enjoy it as well. This of course has me doubting my skills as a mom. I have done a lot of thinking on this over that last few months and I have some thoughts.

I have never, even before my Christian life, considered the Harry Potter series to encourage readers to partake in the occult or Wicken or any of those crazy things. I have always viewed it as entertaining fiction. Nothing more, nothing less. I guess for me, the key word is fiction. I know the difference between imagination and reality.

I don't know the difference between the magic in Harry Potter and the force in Star Wars or the magic in the Lord of the Rings. Lets compare it to Star Wars, which I also love. They both are a battle between good and evil. Light and dark. Maybe a difference is children and adults. In Harry Potter the main characters start at age 11 and the 7 year series takes them through high school. Star Wars begins with Anakin, age 6 and jumps ahead through the years until he has a teenage son. Light Sabers vs. Magic Wands. Space Creatures (Jabba the Hut, Chewbacca, Yoda) vs. Mystical Creatures (House Elves, Giants, Werewolves). When I analyze it I don't see much of a difference.

I was playing around online today and found a link to an article written in a British newspaper titled Use Harry Potter to Spread Christian Message. I wouldn't go quite that far with it, as the person who created this study guide also created one for the Simpson's cartoon series, but the author does bring up another point: J.K. Rowling's characters and magic are not that different from those that C.S. Lewis created.

I have always believed that when children are exposed to any media it should be under the supervision of their parents. We are to help explain concepts and remind them of what is real and what is pretend. And in my own family, the first think Korey said as we were leaving the theater after seeing Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix was, "Mom, do those guys who do good things get to go to Heaven, too?" On the ride home we talked about Jesus and the only way to salvation.