Impressions of Summer Camp

I can’t do impressions.

__Ellie Kemper


When I was a boy, summer camp was one of the highlights of the year. I counted the days leading up to camp and I have actually cried when it was over.

One of the highlights was gathering at the swimming hole (a small pond). But there was one problem – “Brother Gilbert” – the lifeguard.

Brother Gilbert was one of the meanest and most feared men I ever knew.

Image my surprise years later when I discovered that Brother Gilbert was my wife’s pastor during that time and that she has a very special affection for Pastor Gilbert. Turns out he was a doting “Papa Pastor” who especially took time to make Sonja feel special. She loved him!

What goes here!?

Looking back I realize that my first impression of Pastor Gilbert was interpreted wrongly. I confused firmness with meanness. I thought his rules and constant buddy-checks were designed to keep us from having fun.

How was I to know that he was trying to keep dozens of rambunctious junior aged boy from drowning each other.

I get it now. Having been in similar situations myself I realize that he wasn’t mean, he was desperate–desperately trying to keep us alive and still let us have fun.

Therein lies my thought for today…

The ONE THING for today: First impressions are never enough. They may not be wrong, but for certain, they are not entirely right. Let’s be more willing to give people the benefit of the doubt for now. Who knows, we may learn something new about them tomorrow that will change how we see them forever.

Photo by Lavi Perchik on Unsplash