Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Creating Family Unity Through Camping

For many children, school has let out for the summer and our kids are wrapping up the main aspects of the school year, although they will continue to do some daily academics through the month of June and part of July. We like to keep their skills honed and their memories sharpened so we don't have to do as much review in the fall. Also, a semblance of structure helps keep our home peaceful. We are taking a break for a  few days, though and heading out on a tent camping trip. I'm looking forward to getting away, unplugging and enjoying nature with my family. I have many fond memories of camping trips throughout my childhood and we have taken our kids camping many times throughout the years as well. We always come home refreshed and thankful for our warm beds, easy living comforts, a washer and dryer, hot showers etc. Sometimes roughing it a little bit puts things in perspective. It also causes me to realize how many blessings I take for granted and how many blessings I have to count and thank God for.

I have to be honest. I don't enjoy preparing for camping. It's a lot of work for me and it is so easy to forget necessary items. As a child, I loved camping and the freedom it gave my brothers and me, to run, ride our bikes, swim etc. and enjoy different responsibilities from the norm. As an adult, I now realize just how much my parents sacrificed in order to take us on camping trips. Now that the kids are older, the preparations are easier because they are capable of helping.

I was thinking about the benefits of camping the other day. I don't think I've ever been on a camping trip that didn't have at least  some discomfort included in the fun,  if not an all out catastrophe or two.....like unexpected electrical storms, including a drenched tent, along with everything and everyone in it or the shock of a cold shower after a night spent freezing in the tent. It seems like our selfishness rules and reigns more readily when we are in uncomfortable situations and bad attitudes prevail. Arguments ensue and frustrations can seem endless. These experiences seem so challenging and irritating at the moment, but the lessons learned and the memories made are priceless.

Camping trips provide great family and marriage bonding opportunities because of the team work that is necessary. Setting up the tent is a family affair and not an easy one with the challenges of setting up a ten person tent and little ones running under foot. Keeping the tent clean takes group effort as does cooking, clean up, and re-grouping for a hiking trip or fishing or swimming or whatever activity is on the day's agenda. It seems like we spend an exorbitant amount of time simply organizing everyone so we can actually go do something together. At the end of the day, though, there is beauty in the difficulties because we each learn more about ourselves and we are faced with obvious areas of growth we need to pursue individually. Rich and I get a clear picture of character issues that need to be addressed in our kids and in ourselves and we also see a clear picture of the growth, changes and maturity that each of us has developed since the last camping trip. The uninterrupted family time is a treasure and even though it's tough to rough it....at least we choose campgrounds with bathrooms, showers and electricity in those bathrooms. :) I'm not quite as rugged as some of my friends who like to hike way into the deep wilderness and camp without so much as an outhouse. While I admire them, unless I'm forced to rough it to that extent, I wouldn't volunteer for the experience.

I'm looking forward to the beauty of the mountains and the lake, the woods and trails. I love hiking with my family, relaxed moments of reading in the sunshine, listening to my husband read to the family from the Bible while enjoying the beauty of God's creation, sitting around the campfire singing, playing games, outdoor cooking, fun snacks we don't consume on a regular basis, being together as a family in the tent....laughing, telling jokes, waking up all together, and even all the work it takes to do it all.

I love seizing the moments through the lens of my camera and I can't wait to capture more precious moments with my family....good and bad....on this trip. I'm off to charge my camera battery and get the packing done.

Summer memories from last year



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1 comment :

  1. […] time all the way up there, chatting, telling jokes/stories and singing together. I mentioned in my last camping post that when we do go camping we only rough it to a certain extent because we choose campgrounds that […]