Monday, August 10, 2015

Making Moments Matter

I spent last week serving at Royal Family Kids Camp; a camp for kids who are in the foster care system. I've worked at many different camps over the past 20 years, and this one was unique for a variety of reasons. Our main goal: show these kids that they are loved, and not because of anything they have a 1 John 4:19 kind of way. ("We love because he first loved us.")

I'm hesitant to call it a "life-changing experience," but only because that seems like hyperbole. I know that my thinking, my heart, and my faith were pulled, pushed, and shaped through my experiences last week, and I'm still thinking about it all. (Honestly, I've started writing a post about it a couple of times, and I am just not able to pull it all together just yet.)

But one thing I'll share...

In our final orientation before the campers arrived, we each received three rubber bracelets:
  • A green one labeled "Keep Moving Forward"
  • A purple one labeled "Treat People Royally"
  • A red one labeled "Make Moments Matter"
These were intended to be reminders for us of what we were doing at camp, why we were there. But we were also encouraged to give them other staff members or even campers if we saw them making a breakthrough ("Keep Moving Forward,") making sacrifices for the good of others ("Treat People Royally,") or creating a memorable experience ("Make Moments Matter.")

It was easy to give away the "Treat People Royally" bracelet, and the "Make Moments Matter" bracelet. It was tougher for me to find a situation for "Keep Moving Forward," but by the middle of the week, I had given away all of my bracelets.

And then...

It was a small thing, really. I had my guitar out, and I had a cluster of little girls about 7 or 8 years old who were fascinated by the instrument. I let them each take a turn strumming while I positioned my fingers into the chords to play a song. It wasn't a big deal to me at all--the kids love the guitar, and I love to play...both play the music, and play with the kiddos.

But someone was watching. After the girls ran off to the next thing, a fellow staff member came over, took the red bracelet off her wrist, and handed it to me. "Dave, you just made a memory with those campers. Thanks for making moments matter."

And suddenly, my eyes were opened.

It doesn't have to be a big thing.

Sometimes, it's the small things that make a memory.

Maybe most of the time it's a small thing.

Maybe it's being present in the moment.

Maybe it's simply showing up, giving my time.

Giving my attention.

Being fully there.

This was a wake-up call for me. Here I was, at camp, dedicating my time to a group of kids who desperately need love and care and affirmation. And it was good for me to be there, really.


I was also challenged to recognize how I am not always fully present in other parts of my life. During the school year, I regularly work 60+ hours per week between teaching and doctoral work. When I have downtime...I often crash, because I'm exhausted.

But I have a family there too. I have a wife and kids who need my time and attention. They need me to be present.

Making moments matter.


That is going to be my mantra this year: "Make Moments Matter."

I'm keeping the bracelet on as a reminder...

"Make Moments Matter"


  1. Amen, brother! We offer ourselves and our time and God makes those moments matter in ways we can't even imagine. Let's do it!

    1. Thanks for the feedback, my friend! I hope you'll help hold me accountable this year... :-)

  2. You (and your team) made a difference at camp. There is no doubt about that. :)

    1. Thanks for the affirmation, Ruth. :-) We did have a lot of fun with the music, the drama, Breakfast Club, ...and all the other silliness! My hope and prayer is that the seeds that were planted will bear much fruit.

  3. Getting ready to welcome students back to school tomorrow, thanks for the inspiration!