I had the chance to go on Trek this summer…as a pa!
Say what? For those who have never heard of Trek and have no clue what I’m talking about, it works basically like this: There’s a ma & pa (a married couple) that are put in charge of a pioneer family. A number of kids from local congregations are assigned to that family, and most of the kids don’t know the ma, pa, or the other kids in the family. Over the course of three days, that pioneer family learns to work together to camp, pull handcarts, and participate in pioneer-themed activities together.
So we had 11 kids assigned to our Trek family and we only knew 2 of them before Trek started. Those young people taught me some amazing things over the course of those three days – Work hard, play hard, have fun and smile a lot. The most valuable lesson of the journey came after a tough day. Our family pulled a handcart for 13 miles, our handcart and our replacement handcart broke on us, and we had a couple of feet run over by the handcart (mine being one of them).
So, after a physically draining day, we pulled into camp as the sun was setting and were ready to set up camp. As we started to unload our camping stuff, another family told us we needed to set up camp pretty far away from the rest of the groups. Our family was upset and didn’t want to move, so I went to our company leader to find out what was going on. After speaking with him about the situation, he reluctantly said we needed to move the families in our company to a different spot that happened to be ¼ mile away from the main site. This news meant that our choice new campsite would be 1300 feet away from bathrooms, from fresh water and from all the social activities for the entire camp. After getting the news from our camp captain, I went back to our family and explained the situation something like this:
“Okay, kids, we just got dealt a huge plate of poop (I actually spoke that motivational gem to the kids in our family). They’re asking us to move our camp down quite a ways. Brother Baker (our company captain) said we had to move because some of the other families wanted more space. We can dig in our heels and set up wherever we want or we can move down to the other spot. What do y’all think we should do with this plate of poop Brother Baker just gave us?”
Now, there are times in our lives when we’re truly amazed at the wisdom of youth. This, for me, was one of those times. When I asked those kids what they wanted to do with our metaphorical plate of…you-know-what, I was sure they’d say we should just stay where we were. Instead, their response was just fantastic:
“If Brother Baker gave us a plate of poop and said it was the best he could do, we should thank him for the plate and ask him to pass the salt and pepper.”
It was so fitting for that moment; it was so fitting for a lot of the stuff we deal with in life; and for the rest of the adventure it was something that made us all laugh whenever someone in our Trek family called out, “Could you pass the salt and pepper?”
So whatever that next poo poo platter of life is, I’m ready for it! Thanks, kids!