Every child enters the world as a fresh, innocent soul. I remember feeling completely overwhelmed and breathless as I held my babies and felt the weight of this new responsibility. Now, I am closer to the time that I release them as adults, and that is equally as overwhelming and breathtaking. Did I do it all right? No. Am I proud of every single decision along the way? No. But one thing that I am most proud of in our parenting is that our kids have been drenched in excellent leadership and development training at New Life Ranch!
We recognized early on that our goal as parents was to provide our kids with a childhood full of opportunities to become Christ-centered adults with servant hearts. The Big Picture, to us, is that this life we are all given is really one big opportunity to live big, love big, serve big, give big to God’s Kingdom and to have a whole lot of fun along the way! When our daughter was in second grade, we became acquainted with NLR and she attended her first summer camp. We still remember how big she was smiling when we saw her at Friday night chapel that week. Our love for NLR was just beginning! Her little brother could hardly wait for his turn to start going too. Soon, we had two at summer camp every year. They still reminisce about the chapel speakers and all the good memories. They were learning, even in those young years, to desire and love a very real and deep relationship with Jesus Christ.
This past summer, our daughter completed her Soma training and graduated from the Leadership Development program at NLR, and our son completed his Nehi training, the first year of the Leadership Development program. The best thing we realize when we get our kids back home after NLR is that they WANT to do and be all of the things that we desire for them. What a payback! Teens that look for ways to be leaders, to give, to serve and to commit themselves - what a gift to their parents and to their community!
Do they still make mistakes? Yes. Do they still get off track occasionally? Of course, they do! That’s the next best thing, though. They come back from NLR with tools they can reach for when they run into an obstacle or they have gotten off track. They don’t flail around too long. They know what to do. And lastly, the next best thing is the life-long, deep-rooted relationships they have developed over the years, especially in the Leadership Development program. There is absolutely nothing like New Life Ranch relationships. They are godly, priceless relationships. My daughter, currently a senior in high school, frequently reaches out to her LD counselors for advice or when we she needs a sounding board. I think it is safe to say that my favorite parenting tool has been New Life Ranch! (And as a bonus, they come home looking for ways to help with chores around the house, and they have fun doing them. Thanks, New Life Ranch!)
We look forward to getting to sit back and watch our kids become adults that know how to and WANT to pour out of themselves all of the goodness that they have been soaking up at New Life Ranch thru the years. For our children to grow up to desire a rich relationship with God, to love people and give of themselves, to commit their strengths and abilities to serving God’s Kingdom in all that they do, and to always leave everything a little better than they found it – that is The Big Picture.
- Sarah Losh, former camper parent