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Thursday, May 1, 1997

Kids Say the Darndest Things

                                                                                                                            May 1997

Dear GUCI Staff:

Art Linkletter wrote a book years back that was titled, “Kids Say the Darndest Things.”  Even if you’ve never heard of Art Linkletter or seen his TV show (a hit in the ‘50’s) on which he interviewed children and played to their cute answers, you have to relate to the title of that book.  It certainly speaks to a Camp Director.

A few weeks ago I was visiting Temple Israel in Columbus, Ohio.  It was to be a typical Sunday morning; Ron gets up very early, drives three hours to Sunday school, talks about camp, shows the video (no complaints from me about not having to lug around the slide show, tape player, etc), and hits the road for home.  But on this particular Sunday A.M. an interesting addition to the norm came up under the heading of. “Kids Say the Darndest Things.”

I arrived at Temple Israel a little early and met the Rabbi a while before the camp assembly was to begin.  He told me that they were about to start the morning T’fillot with the 5th, 6th, 7th graders and asked me if I’d care to lead them in prayer.  I said, “Sure,” not really thinking much about what that might involve.  In about two minutes we were in a small chapel and in marched the classes.  With the help of the songleader, we had a nice morning T’fillah.  I took the liberty (what the heck, I was the leader, right?) to ask some questions to the group as a means of introducing different portions of the service.  We talked about prayer as a way of saying “Thanks,” and as a way of expressing praise.  But, when we got to the idea of prayer as petition, asking for things, one of the 5th graders indeed said the darndest thing.  I asked, “If we use prayer to ask for things, what do we hope for?”  Many hands went up.  Some kids said we hope for health, or we hope for peace, etc.  All good answers.  But one little girl raised her hand and when I called on her, she taught us all the lesson of the day.  “What we hope for, “ she said, “Is hope.”

Could that 5th grader have understood the depth of her comment?  Did she realize that many of us turn to prayer as a source of encouragement; that just coming together as a faith community, singing, reading in unison, hearing words of Torah, gives us strength and hope.  I’ve thought about this a lot.  I think she knew exactly what she was saying.  We pray for emotional strength.  “We hope for hope.”

I’m glad I got up early that Sunday morning to learn this important lesson.  It has stuck in my mind.  The thought gives me comfort.  That a 5th grader had this idea and shared it made it even more special.  Well, kids do say the darndest thing.  It pays to listen to them.

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