I recently had the pleasure of visiting camp Camp Huronda, a phenomenal facility 2.5 hours north of Toronto, located on 110 acres. The camp is home for the summer for children, ages 6 to 17, living with Type 1 Diabetes who need to rely on an insulin pump or daily injections. They offer a variety of activities and a staff of absolutely incredibly special people that are truly there to make a difference in people's lives. I cannot say enough what a special place this camp is.
A few months ago, I received a call from the camp, asking me to speak at the opening address for a 3 day family camp. Family camp is exactly how it sounds - mothers, fathers, sisters and brothers come up and stay with the camper for three days. There were about 40 staff, campers and family present. As I spoke, the smiles on the faces of the kids at camp...kids that are all living with diabetes, really inspired me. I am also living with diabetes. These children still smiled through all of it: testing their blood, taking injections, being on the pump. It was a really special night for me.
Earlier in the day, when I first arrived, the kids and families were down at the lake swimming, so I went on a tour of the camp. I saw horseback riding, biking, canoeing, swimming and even a climbing tower. We walked over to it and as I stepped up to the wall, a sign caught my attention - Rules for Climbing. As I read through these four simple rules posted low enough for little eyes to read, I really took them to heart and felt that they could be applied to other areas of life as well.
1. Be safe - Every day we need to think about being safe, not only for our own personal safety but also for the safety of our friends and the people around us. We can be safe when we're driving, when we think about the food that we put into our bodies and even when we choose the thoughts that we put into our heads. For those of us, who live with diabetes, it's as simple as always having a snack or juice or glucose tablets with us. We all need to be conscious of the little things every day that are easy to forget yet so important to our quality of life.
2. Have fun - It sounds simple. The best advice we get in life usually is, and sometimes, as adults, we can forget that. One of the biggest lessons I've learned from working with children, is that children have fun. We all need to have fun every day. It's easy - just laugh or smile, just play. What do children look forward to most when going back to school? Recess! They laugh, they have fun, and they enjoy themselves. We adults may have forgotten how to play, but it's simple to remember. Just remember to have fun, every single day.
3. Help a Friend every day - Check in with someone you love - send an email, call or text. Make them smile, or make them laugh. When you help a friend out, it really makes you feel good, as well. Put a smile on their face, and you will have definitely earned one for yourself
4. Don't Put Someone Down - It is easy to sit back and criticize and put other people down, but it's more challenging not to say anything negative and to really build someone up. Sadly, it doesn't take a lot of courage to put someone down. This last rule makes me think back to Dale Carnegie's book from 1936, How to Win Friends and Influence People. One of the things he says is "Do not Criticize, Condemn or Complain." It doesn't do you any good and it certainly doesn't help the other person. These simple rules found posted to a child's climbing wall at summer camp, are four easy tenets that can be carried with us every day. Be safe, have fun, help a friend and don't put someone down. Simple. Useful.
If you believe someone would enjoy and benefit from this post, please share it. Just click on the + Share button and you will see lots of options for sharing it with friends including email, Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn. Thanks!
blog comments powered by Disqus
Last Saturday my wife's side of the family decided to have a family picnic. This is the first time we've done this, and to make things easier we decided to meet at a local park. It was a wonderful opportunity to enjoy the weather. I mean, why not celebrate summer? Summers are way too short in Canada.
Everybody has a busy schedule these days, so it was good that we all were able to make time for each other and for family and friends. I think that sometimes we let life get away from us and forget what's really important. So when we found each other at the park, it was great to sit and connect. We had lunch, played games, and really just had time for each other. It was great to shut out the rest of the world, if only for an afternoon.
Not worrying about your blackberry or checking your messages, but really being present and connected, is a priceless gift. We spent the day really creating memories that we sometimes forget to be present for. The day was beautiful and warm, and we learned a few lessons, like next time we'll remember to bring a canopy rather than chasing the shade with our picnic table.
I also took away a few simple, but important things to remember in our daily lives:
1. Make Time for What is Important in Your Life - Whatever that may be - family, friends, your health. Make the time and make what's important to you your number one priority. I have certainly been guilty of letting things get away from me from time to time, and it's easy to do. But, if you have a business meeting, you schedule it. Sometimes we don't schedule the most important people in our lives. Identify what's really important in your life and make the time.
2. Play - I slept so well after playing with my two nieces. They have so much energy, and they play and they laugh and they come up with new games. It is amazing how very creative they are. As adults, sometimes we forget to play, while kids, they play all the time. I think that we need to play a little bit more. We need to experience the creativity, the vision and the dreaming that come from simply playing. You don't have to follow any rules; you can be whoever you want to when you let go and enjoy the act of playing.
3. Try to Look at the World through Kids Eyes - One of the things I have learned from working with children is that kids are so curious. They are always asking questions, and are always asking "why." I've done a lot of presentations with both adults and kids and the kids groups are always a lot more challenging because they will question everything, whereas adults usually just go with the flow.
At the picnic my 3 year old niece, Sophia, discovered the digital camera. She was so thrilled to take her first pictures. Then she shared them with her 6 year old sister, Alysia. Shortly after, off they went together to take more pictures. Some of their pictures were quite avant-garde, but they had so much fun because it was new and was something wonderful to explore.
Alysia loves playing games and sometimes she may be a bit creative with the rules, but we could all take a few tips from her and children like her. We need to look at things with a fresh set of eyes. We need to look with kids eyes and see the world as full of possibility. We need to be curious instead of jaded and judgmental. In one afternoon of family, and laughter and happy children discovering their world, I remembered three very important habits, that like many, I have sometimes forgotten.
Make a habit to make the time for what's important to you. Make the habit to play and play regularly. Make the habit to look at your world through the eyes of a child and remember how much you love doing the things that you do.
blog comments powered by Disqus