At our recent Winter Camp just weeks ago, our theme was, ”Taking off your ‘mask’ and revealing the true you”.
It is a concept that most people, let alone most boys, really have no idea about. It is in fact, a difficult thing to grasp and even more difficult to do for most people.
The invisible ‘mask’ we all wear, literally masks our true feelings and therefore does not let us experience the full range of emotions that life has to offer. Removing that ‘mask’ is so difficult because it lets us become vulnerable to the comments and opinions of others which can sometimes hurt our feelings or make us mad. It also opens us up to being laughed at or ridiculed . . . something young boys want no part of.
There was much lively discussion about all this each night during our campfires, as the boys stood up bravely and shared their true feelings. Some cried and every comment was heartfelt, meaningful and sincere. Some comments were almost shocking regarding the abuse and treatment they receive daily at school and even at home!
They were told that our camp and this campfire is a place where they can safely remove their ‘mask’ and become real and true to themselves without fear of reprisal or shaming.
Many of the boys were unable to remove their ‘mask’, but the sharing of those who did . . . actually helped many other boys to try.
For sure, there was honesty and true feelings shared each night.
The common denominator that ran as a theme with most of their comments, was that of anger, hopelessness and outright fear.
The other common theme was that singing in our choir helped release them emotionally to be themselves . . . the real boy they were created to be.
I coined the quote, “singing has the power that anger only dreams of” and we all agreed that it summed up what they were feeling when they were really honest with themselves.
On the evaluation form they fill out for me at the very end of our camps, some boys admitted that try as they might, they were not able to remove their ‘mask’, that it was just too hard and scary. But happily, most of the boys said they were successfully able to remove their ‘mask’ if only at our campfires and that it did feel liberating. They were able to be totally real and honest about how they were feeling and even cry if they needed to.
My hope is that they will continue to try and remove their invisible ‘mask’ as much as they can, now that they know the power it can bring.
How about you . . . have you ever removed your ‘mask’ to reveal the real, true you?