One evening years ago at overnight summer camp, we were gathering with the kids around the main central fire that they have come to call Grandma. There were about 40 of us. Snow Bear (our beloved camp elder) and others were drumming, the fire was blazing to build coals for ash cakes (naan-like bread cooked on hot coals). You could feel the excitement in the air, you could see it in the kids’ body language. Some danced around the fire to the drums.
Soon the coals were ready, the kids made their ash cakes, and placed them on the fire. Other kids were crushing up charcoal to put on their faces for the night’s big event—a sneaking game after dark. Kids were laughing with each other. You could see the childlike excitement, deep happiness, and natural fun.
I pulled a few staff back and had them look at the situation from the outside. “Look at the work we created together. Look at the fun the kids are having”.
It was a great example of the importance of standing back and looking at what we create in the world. Are we on target? Does anything need to be adjusted? We all too often get stuck in the activity at hand and don’t stand back and look at what we helped create.
Sometimes we need to make an adjustment (the how of that is part of the art of mentoring). Sometimes we just need to not screw up a good thing that is going on. Regardless, it is important as a mentor, parent, or friend to step back and look at what is really happening.
Thanks to Sarah from Two Fire Table for the delicious meal!