From Day Camps to Decisions
Recently, I came across a magazine article about the vast array of children’s summer camps. I could not believe the selection ― something for every interest. My mind filled immediately with memories of our sons’ summers at the nearby Fisher Park Day Camp.
I smiled as I recalled one memorable day when I picked up our youngest son. He was all of five years old at the time. When I arrived, I saw him gently caressing a girl’s hair. As we walked home, he announced to me that the little girl was his girlfriend and that they planned to be married and move to Toronto. I asked whether he thought he was a bit young to have a girlfriend. “Mom, you’re never too young for a girlfriend,” he replied emphatically.
Another summer, he came home from camp wearing a colorful bracelet that read “WWJD” (What would Jesus do?). I remember thinking to myself how much simpler and better life would be if we all asked ourselves that question more often.
Two children witness some friends stealing candy from a store. WWJD? A young couple negotiates the boundaries of their relationship. WWJD? A parent struggles with a ‘tough love’ decision. WWJD? An executive must decide whether to cut employees. WWJD? A terminally ill person debates whether to reconcile with an estranged sibling. WWJD?
In the example above, the children decide not to steal because they remember learning at Sunday school that “Thou shalt not steal” is one the Ten Commandments. It is a simple but important faith-based decision.
Having attended a summer Bible camp as a preteen, I too remember making significant faith-based decisions about my life at the age of 10 and I stand firm by those decisions today. I am not, however, as proud of all my decisions. The poorest decisions that I ever made were at a time when I did not involve God very much in my life. I suppose that is the difference between God-involved decisions and self-involved decisions.
It is easy for our pride to get in the way of good decisions. We feel that we can handle the decisions and that we can take care of ourselves. We rationalize our decisions, resisting God’s truth and His plan for our life.
If jealousy, anger or revenge enters our decision-making process, we do not make wise, godly decisions. Fear also distorts our ability to make wise, courageous decisions. Under those circumstances, we need the implications of our decisions pointed out to us because our choices today will affect our choices and circumstances of the future.
Sometimes we regret the choices that we made. It is good to reflect soberly on our rebellious, destructive decisions and to repent wholeheartedly. Have our decisions hurt loved ones? Have we neglected what is best for our families and the organization where we work? As global citizens, have we taken into consideration the needs of the wider community and the world beyond?
Of course, that was then and this is now. We must not let our past impede our future. The good news is that each day brings God’s new mercies and a chance to start afresh. That being said, one of the best decisions that I made in recent years was to become involved in Parkdale’s ministries. That decision made a huge difference in my journey of faith.
It has been said that wise stewards open their minds to affirming, live-giving choices that support truth and promote emotional/spiritual wholeness. They open their hearts to biblically-based decisions that follow the ways of Jesus and the principles of the Word of God.
Decisions…decisions…decisions…what would Jesus do?
Barbara Hennessy, Chair