#398 – Instant Relationships

The first season of Star Trek: The Next Generation on re-mastered Blu-ray was released yesterday. I already wrote about its release and how I have to fight the temptation to buy it. (Though I just checked Amazon and it only costs $59.99). I’d be more than happy to spend that money, though, because TNG is my favorite television show ever and I have invested many hours into its characters and their relationships.

I wasn’t totally invested in the characters and their relationships right away, though. That investment took many hours, numerous warp core meltdowns and a Klingon Civil War. I was more than happy to invest that time in those TV relationships. How I felt about Picard and crew at the end of season seven was tremendously different from how I felt about them at the beginning of season one. It really was the investment of time, though, that changed those TV relationships.

I’m more than happy to invest that time with TV relationships but I’m having some trouble investing that time in some real relationships.

This week I’m at summer camp with our junior high students. This is my first camp with our junior high group since stepping into a more hands on role. I haven’t really worked with junior high students for seven years so it’s been interesting trying to get back into the swing of their world. Not much has changed with junior high students in the past few years: they’re still pretty squirrely, they giggle at everything and they can be a little annoying.

I’ve enjoyed my time so far at junior high camp but I find myself comparing my relationship with these students to my relationship with our high school students. I’ve been working with our high school students for over five years at this point. I’ve spent three years investing in our seniors and I have a great relationship with them. I’ve found myself wishing that I had the same relationship with the junior high students that I do with my seniors.

That sort of instant relationship isn’t possible.

Saying I want the same relationship with some seventh graders that I have with my seniors would be like saying I want the same relationship with the season one TNG crew that I have with season seven TNG crew. The kind of relationship I have with the seniors can only be cultivated by time and investment; I simply haven’t had the time to cultivate that kind of relationship with any junior high students. It is my sincere hope and prayer, though, that this week at camp will be the beginning of that type of relationship.

Then, when these junior high students graduate from high school, I’ll cry like I did when I watched the last episode of The Next Generation.

What helps you see the long-term investment in relationships?

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