I like you because if I think I am going to throw up
then you are really sorry
You don’t just pretend you are busy looking at the birdies and all that
You say, maybe it was something you ate
You say, the same thing happened to me one time
And the same thing did
Growing up, the highlight of my year was the two weeks spent at Camp Calumet. Every night, we would jump into our bunk beds, filled with the adrenaline of wide games and campfires (and hopped up on a bit too much sugar from the Snack Bar). Our counselor would settle us down by reflecting on the day with Devotions. We’d start to slowly deflate like helium balloons, lying in the dark of our cabin, taking in the smell of pine needles and Lake Ossipee, and listening to the waves lap up against the shore. We’d read a story or listen to a song, and all the little things about the day seemed to tie together in some larger, more wonderous sense.
Years later, as a counselor, the book I remembered most (and probably heard every year during Devotions) was I Like You, by Sandol Stoddard Warburg. The poem, in childlike rhythm, gets to the heart of what we learned at camp. At camp, we were able to let go and be ourselves. Our friends saw us at our best, and we learned to love each other unconditionally. I never felt more loved than when I was at Camp Calumet.
That’s because you really like me
You really like me, don’t you
And I really like you back
And you like me back and I like you back
And that’s the way we keep on going every day
This Valentine’s Day, I’m celebrating that unconditional, child-like, “friends-forever” love. If you’re like me, who finds romance to be floating in some mystic, unattainable realm best left ignored, today is great for thinking about how loved we are in other ways. That we can find love in our friends, family, God, and most importantly, in ourselves. And that’s what I learned from I Like You – and from summer camp.
Four other perfect devotional books for kids:
1. The Giving Tree by Shel Silverstein (Harpercollins, 1964). Try having small children interpret this one.
2. Oh, The Places You’ll Go by Dr. Seuss (Random House, 1990). For the end of camp, when everyone has to take all the memories home with them.
3. Walk On! A Guide For Babies Of All Ages by Marla Frazee (Harcourt, 2006). I received this book for graduation, so you really can use this picture book with campers of ALL ages.
4. Chicken Soup For The Preteen Soul (HCI, 2000). Chicken Soups are the cop-out of all “devos” books. There are so many to choose from, and you can open to literally any page and make it work. On the bright side, teens are confused. This helps.