Too old?


Pastor Ralph laughed at me as he went off to the comforts of his own bed.

Pastor Ralph smirked at my fate as he went off to the comforts of his own bed.

I’m too old for this, right? I’m almost 46.

When Karina needed someone to chaperone her boys’ sleepover on Saturday, I volunteered. My son was one of the friends. Here were eight kids aged 10 – 13, camping out in tents on the front lawn of her suburb home for a birthday. The guys woke me up every 15 to 30 minutes until 3:00 a.m. with cackling at prepubescent jokes. I was afraid they’d wake the neighbors, who’d call the police for disturbing the peace. Yeah, my peace.

IMG_2673At 1:30 a.m. the 20-something-year-old girl across the street had some guy friends talking to her, leaning against the car. I crawled back into my sleeping bag on the porch because it didn’t look like any problem. Then at 2:30 a.m., two boys woke me up with hushed screams of terror. The guys, they said, had attempted to light the tent on fire (I think they may have thrown a cigarette or two in the street; from that, the imagined immolation). According to my boys, the guys were gangstas, hoodlums, “bad guys.”

IMG_2677Aw, shut up and go back to bed, I growled. It’s YOU guys who are the bad guys ‘cuz you won’t let me sleep. I curmudgeonly drilled my head into my pillow. Next thing I knew, the boys were putting their sleeping bags onto the cement driveway. I ask them why but, delirious with exhaustion, I comprehended nothing of their answer. I began to snore. The next morning I asked why they left the tent on the lawn for the bruisingly hard driveway.

“Because we were closer to you.”

This was Sunday. Hosea wanted to have a friend over. They handed out these lighted goggles at the party.

This was Sunday. Hosea wanted to have a friend over. They handed out these lighted goggles at the party.

A super-groggy, trying-not-to-be-cranky Christian camp dad attempted to crack the tent-packing code. (How does something so big fit into such a small bag? Where are those tent pegs sunk into the lawn?)  I dropped half the kids off at their homes and went to take a shower and gulp down 3-4 cups of coffee before church service.

“Thank you, Mr. Ashcraft.”

IMG_2679I tried not to grumble in response.

Kids need activities to make them feel special, to let them know how much God loves them. It’s up to us, the older generation, to help the younger generation know Christ. Today is Monday, and three cups of coffee have NOT achieved the desired effect. Through the haze of hangover-like sleepiness, I’m planning the next sleepover.

Are you too old to help kids?

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41 responses to “Too old?

  1. I’m sure you’ll get brownie points in heaven for being such a good sport. 🙂

  2. You helped make some great memories for these boys that they will not forget! You will catch up on the missed sleep and you made the birthday boy and his friends’ day! Congratulations! 🙂

  3. Way to live out Deuteronomy 6:6-8 in real life! Congratulations for having the guts to volunteer and survive. Unfortunately, even if you get into a routine (i.e. monthly outings with the boys) it doesn’t get easier, but you do learn some tricks to minimize the damage (says the 47 Y.O. scoutmaster).

      • For starters, a self-inflating foam pad (i.e. http://www.campmor.com/outdoor/gear/Product___43028) does a lot to keep you warm, dry and relatively comfortable on most surfaces (i.e. church floor, gym floor, dirt with sticks and rocks, etc.); taking a Tylenol-like product before going to sleep, fresh socks before bed, etc. A fleece top is your buddy — use as pillow, but if the night turns chilly, just slip it on (it’s already warm from being a pillow). Check out our blog and remember that the scout handbook/fieldbook are cheap, easy to read (written for boys as young as 11) and you don’t need to be a scout to access the curriculum. Although I’ve been tempted to take ear plugs on trips (ha, ha), I always remind the scouts that they can come with their buddy to wake me if there’s a problem. That’s only ever happened once when a tent was trying to float in the middle of a rain-storm induced pond. I got the boys to dry ground in under the dining fly and they were good for the evening. The best thing to remember is that each trip’s ‘hardships’ are really ‘teachable moments’ for hauling out scriptures to cope, explain, challenge and instruct. At least that’s what we try to do with our scouting program here at FBC Hackensack.

  4. Well, from this end it seems like it was a rather exciting Adventure 😉

    Bless you for volunteering!

  5. noordinaryjoy61

    Your blog never fails to inspire, encourage, and challenge me. It’s one of my favorites! So, for that reason, I’ve nominated you for the Beautiful Blogger Award. I posted about it here.
    http://noordinaryjoy61.wordpress.com/2013/04/29/beautiful-blogger-award/

  6. That looks like so much fun! I wanna sleep over now. XOXO – Bacon

  7. You’re NEVER too old for a fun experience like this! It’s times like this that help keep us young : )

  8. You should go 16 cups like me, hahaha…

  9. Our house was always the gathering place for my children’s friends. The other parents thought I was nuts. I figured this way at least I knew where they were, who they were with, and what they were doing. Plus, I enjoyed their company. They’re all college graduates now and I still hear from most of them.

  10. Praise the Lord! You are so blessed to be volunteer!

  11. “It’s up to us, the older generation, to help the younger generation know Christ” – yes! God is raising up spiritual mothers and fathers. Praise God that you have said yes. God bless you with supernatural strength and love to give to the kids he brings in to your life. 🙂

  12. This was a nice read! Thanks for liking my Post. Maybe you could help spread the word for me? Any help is appreciated!

  13. Thank you so much for all the likes on my blog today. What you couldn’t possibly have known but only God did is that I had begun feeling as though my blog was just not ministering to very many people. I get little feedback. I very much needed the encouragement today. Blessings, always.
    Sue

    • Sue, it took me 8 months to learn how to get followers. here it is: go through topics on the reader and “like” indiscrimately other people’s blogs. Think of the “like” button as passing out business cards. Of 100 “likes” you hand out, 10 will visit your blog, and a handful will sign up. Do this daily for a few weeks, and you’re following will grow. I’m at 2,233 followers, and that’s how I’ve been doing it since September. It might be good for you to write once a day for now and do more work to raise up a following. Hope this helps! 😀

    • Btw, one like means, I see you and I’m interested in what you have to say.
      A bunch of likes means, I really like your stuff.
      A comment means, I love your stuff.
      Also, if you write a bunch of comments, it works even better. By writing comments, you make friends!

  14. Ah, those birthday sleepovers. Takes me back to when I was a solo parent. Yes, you don’t get a lot of sleep. When they got to their 13th birthday I said that’s it!! BTW I love your green glasses.

  15. Awwww! “To be closer to you”. Doesnt that remind us of our relationship with God? So sweet!

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