A week from now we will be at camp (likely being eaten alive I suspect). This year it is my turn to help with theme. Actually Patty and I ended up as the theme planning team, which likely means I will do most of the presentation while Patty chases the girls. Last winter, when we were trying to come up with ideas someone suggested "Dare To Be" in conjunction with the United Church 80th Anniversary theme.
WHen I first heard that suggestion I thought what a wonderful thing to tell kids ages 8-14. It turns out that although we aren't doing anything around the church anniversary we did keep the title. We will spend one morning looking at "dare to be different" (the story of Daniel in the Lion's Den), one looking at "dare to face your fears" (David and Goliath) and one looking at "dare to speak up" (Jeremiah being called by God as a young boy). But even if all the campers and leaders take away is the idea "dare to be"; dare to be yourself, dare to be what you want to be, dare to take chances I will be happy.
It strikes me that we aren't told this often enough. And all too often we don't really believe it. Somewhere in our childhood we buy into this idea that we have to measure up to some set of ideals. We pick up the concept that we have to fit in, go along with the crowd, conform. Young children don't do that yet. What does it take to allow us to Dare to be...?
And yet being is what life is all about. We are called to be all we can be (to qoute an old recruiting slogan). What I have learned is that God is constantly telling me Dare to BE. God is constantly calling out the courage to be me, not be what others would have me be. But it is still hard to do.