I just got back from an adventure with my 4th son, Cai Daniel. We went to Fountainebleau State Park for a father son retreat and enjoyed some great time together. The picture below was taken by the trusty time delay on the camera perched upon a brick column along one of the gravel trails.
I first stared taking my boys on a camping trip when my oldest son, Cade, was 4 years old. As a desperate and concerned father - it seemed to me that I was was not doing a great job at capturing the heart of my son and I thought it would be time well spent - to go and spend some time without anyone else around. It is so difficult to really spend time talking to children with all of the distractions - that are constantly competing for our attention. As the dynamics of our house have changed - I find that not only do toys and technology compete - but even siblings compete for attention with their father.
As soon as we got there - I began unpacking the equipment and I had Cai to rake the leaves and sticks away from the spot that we would be pitching our tent. His raking skills are not as developed as mine but his heart was into it. He really wanted to do a great job and wanted to be involved. It has taken me some time to relinquish my desire to have everything just such a way but I have come to find that I can not do everything because there is just too much to do and to little time to do it. Much better to assign a job to my sons (my helpers - in this case - Cai Daniel) and let them accomplish it to the best of their abilities.
I certainly do not let them slack and give me any old poor attempt - but I am often content to be thankful for their willingness to help and accept the fact that God has placed me in the family to lead, train and instruct and I must not grumble about the quality of helpers or the youthful skills that they posses - but rather I am called to be thankful and to be faithful with my part.
Certainly - there must be some fun mixed in with all of the preparations.
The tree had obviously lived out its life and was now on its way to becoming one with the earth.
Cai took some of the bark that had fallen off of the tree and began to investigate and test its strength.
We also spent some time talking about the way that the waves create the ripples in the sand - down by the beach. Surprisingly - the lake was very low and the pier was almost entirely out of the water. It will take a lot of rain to make up that short fall. None the less - it presented a good teaching example.
With Four "4 year old" camping trips behind me - it looks like the next one will have to wait for Abram James - however - all of the boys have already decided that we must have a camping trip pretty soon with just the guys. They were waiting for us when we got back yesterday and wanted to hear all about it.