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Character develops not in an instant but over a series of challenges that force you to make decisions, rise to occasions and work unselfishly with a community. Character forms works best when you learn from both caring mentors and peers who are on the same track.

I got to watch this happen during our CADETs camping trip. Goshen.Church took 9 young men to join a community to spend 4 days tent camping. At this age, even just being away from WiFi is a challenge, and I got to watch these young men work together, push themselves in new ways, and rise to the occasion of difficulty.

To be clear, I’m not the kind of pastor that fights hard advocating for cultural gender tropes. (The Bible doesn’t say a lot of good things about tents.) This is just me as a dad of a son – but I’ve become convinced that having to deal with minor difficulty, working through impatience, itches, dirt, fish, heights, learning the buddy system, trying to stich leather, sleeping in the dark without a noise machine, working at making the people around you better – I think these things add up over time to be the sum of the sort of character that sustains a life-full of challenges.