boys will be boys (published at

from the sandbox to the construction site, being male is often associated with a natural spirit of trouble-making. you don’t have to be on john eldridge’s mailing list to recognize that there is an untamed energy that is uniquely masculine. middle school boys at church camp are no exception. after 19 years of volunteering, i’ve got plenty of stories to tell. but I’ve come to the point where I’ve said “enough is enough” when it comes to pranks and roughhousing.

early on, i tended to participate in or even instigate much of the pranking. one summer, i had a camper who kept leaving his dirty boxers all over the place. when he was out during free time, i led the charge to hide and/or display all of the errant unmentionables in strategic out-of-reach locations throughout the cabin. he actually thought it was pretty funny.

i organized “smackdown” wrestling for years, but those days are officially behind me. the downstairs common room in our cabins has a support post in the middle and a bank of metal lockers, so all 16 boys would strip their mattresses and feed them down the spiral staircase to provide plenty of padding. they would pair up with an opponent of similar size/weight and have 60 seconds to wail on each other (close to the mat – no aerial moves), accompanied by blaring heavy metal. did i get the message when i had the kid puke following his match? or when the boy almost dislocated his elbow? nope.

read the rest at

back at it! to hit the deadline i actually wrote this long before we went to camp, but it helped me solidify my commitment to a no-prank, no-excessive-roughhousing policy that paid huge dividends. i’ve got another article in the works on the “boy code,” so be watching for more, but for now, head over to y.s. site and read my latest published writing. comments welcome!

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About andrew burden

andrew blogs about being a volunteer youth leader, teacher, video editor, husband, friend, child of God
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