Archive for the ‘ Creed ’ Category

That I May Ever Retain the Spirit of Youth

– Topher Endress

In our culture, it has become the norm for our favorite men to be the stereotypical man-child figure.  Think Will Ferrell and John C. Reilly in Stepbrothers or Bluto in Animal House – the guys who are physically grown, but emotionally (and sometimes intellectually) they stayed at age 14.  Far more than a single generation of guys are growing up and looking to these men, as often the life of the party, as role models.  Modern humor, fashion and even friendship have been influenced by these “men,” but how responsible is it to live out the rest of our lives as if we never grew out of our adolescent immaturity?  And how else can we retain the spirit of youth without acting like a man-child?

As Roland Maxwell (USC ’22) wrote into our creed, retaining the spirit of youth comes through continued relationships with our past.  Working with children this summer at a SeriousFun camp, I can tell you that being around 60 preteens will force that spirit out as well.  Being with these kids as they rediscover the world around them is a moving and transformational experience, and in these past few weeks, I believe the spirit of youth has been made much more clear to me.  Rather than stunting one’s growth, our creed is emphasizing just the opposite.

So many of the kids at a SeriousFun camp come with a small view of the world, having lived being held back by physical limitations and illnesses.  The goal of camp is to give them a week to reclaim what they deserve.  In the time they spend here, the fishing, swimming, archery, games and crafts really take a backseat to grander ideas like growing, independence and forgetting that they have a disease.  As a seasonal staff member, I feel incredibly blessed to get to watch the internal growth that some of these kids go through in just seven days.  What I am privileged to see is a microcosm of childhood development – the rediscovery of wonder and the magic of learning something for the first time.  Childhood is not about staying put; childhood is running around and being messy, finding joy in learning both about the world around you and the world inside of you.  There is a constant growth in kids and I cannot believe that Brother Maxwell intended for that to be ignored.

Reminiscing about college fun with my brothers will remind me of my time spent as an undergrad.  But pushing forward and taking in the world with fresh eyes and a hungry inner drive will always be the key to retaining the spirit of youth.  Men of Character have no need for reliving their adolescence – we should all be too busy searching for that next magic moment when we connect one more dot between ourselves and our world.  Let us live out our creed and go forth, eager to live and experience, quick to give into curiosity, on constant guard against slowing down and move ahead with life.  That is what children are meant to do.