At Summer’s End

I spent this summer at an awesome place called Triple R Ranch. Great place, by the way, if you ever get the chance to go or send your kids. I worked as a lifeguard, a thoroughly rewarding experience. There really isn’t anything like getting to save someone’s life. However, now the summer is almost over, and I think I’ve learned a few things.

First of all, I am way less patient than I thought I was. I love hanging around kids, but sometimes they can really test your ability to stay sane. God has had to show me how to be patient even when I feel like diving into murky swamp water and swimming away to escape the whining kid in my canoe. Quite honestly, I’ve never prayed for patience before, but this summer, I did. Actually, I prayed for a lot of patience. Some days, I rarely stopped praying for patience. Luckily for those kids, I got it too. I know people say that “Patience is a virtue,” but up until this summer, my favorite comeback has always been, “One that I do not possess.” Well, guess what? I have patience now, and I’m going to try to put it to use more often.

Next, I learned that canoeing is an amazing workout. I think my arms have never been this strong before. There’s nothing like spending two to three hours every day paddling around a swamp and dislodging children from bushes to tone your arms. It really is amazing how many times different groups of kids can run into the same sunken log and get stuck on it. I discovered that the best way to get the most out of your canoeing workout is to paddle as fast as you can to get away from the water moccasin that you accidently passed by three feet away. It also turns out that kids don’t have nearly the same sense of urgency that I do to get away from said water moccasin. The first time we discovered the moccasin, one of the canoeing groups cheerfully told me that they had been only about a foot away from the snake and hadn’t noticed it. I’m sure you can imagine the smoke spilling from my ears. It didn’t help that the snake’s hideout was one of the most difficult spots to get turned back around. I swear, my blood pressure skyrocketed every time, I had the kids turn around.

I suppose the most surprising thing I learned this summer is that even though these kids can drive me nuts, I want to go back next year and become a counselor. I realized that there’s something missing when the only time I get to interact with the kids is when I’m at the pool shouting “Walk!” I want to develop a deeper relationship with them, like the wonderful ones I always hear the counselors talking about. Yelling at kids all day is fine and dandy, but I want to really get to know them, and I can’t really do that from a lifeguard stand.

Well, that pretty much sums up my summer. Swamps, snakes, kids driving me nuts, and tons of lessons in patience. It was actually a pretty good summer, if you ask me. I can’t wait to go back next year.

Now, there’s only that pesky thing known as school to finish with.

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