Among many other things , it’s summer camp season. It’s the time of the year when kids of all ages get out into nature, away from the routines of home, and into a whole lot of new adventures.
It was this ‘trying something new’ aspect of things that created an interesting sight at one of the local camps. A group of young boys and their instructor were out in the camp’s big canoe. It was the sort of thing that the boys would probably have called a war canoe. After all, that’s a boy sort of thing. But in reality it was just a modern, fibreglass version of the traditional canoe that would have been used in the fur trade. Big and durable.
The size of the thing allowed all of the boys, maybe 10 or 12 of them, to try to propel the thing all at the same time. And that’s where it became interesting. Being boys, they all thought they knew what to do. And that, of course, resulted in a chaos of paddles all trying to do their own thing. It looked like a centipede with muscle spasms.
Fortunately the canoe was wide and stable. And the instructor, having seen it all before, was patient enough to let the boys discover for themselves that the steersman should be the one to be in control and call out the rhythm. After about 15 minutes they started to make their way across the bay in some semblance of forward propulsion.
Although the real context is one of charity and giving, for some reason the Biblical text of, ‘not letting your left hand know what your had doeth,’ (Matthew 6:3) comes to mind.
No doubt the boys will all have their own version of their paddling experience in the big canoe as they tell their parents about their first summer camp.