Family Champion Recalls Camping Vacation
Editor’s Note: Jim Daly, president of Colorado Springs, Colo.-based Focus on the Family, writes in his July newsletter about a memorable camping trip with his family. The following passage is excerpted from Focus on the Family’s July, 2012 newsletter by Jim Daly. Copyright © 2012, Focus on the Family. Used by permission.
Are you planning a campout or a road trip of some kind? If you’re still thinking about it, I’d like to share a few ideas with you. If there’s one thing I’d like to impress upon moms and dads, it’s this: Where you go and where you stay aren’t nearly as important as the fact that you’re doing it together as a family. Of course, it’s a good idea to plan wisely, but sometimes, the best trips are the spontaneous adventures where there hasn’t been enough time to set unrealistic expectations.
Regardless of what you do — or what you’ve done thus far — there is significant value in unstructured days, when the clock doesn’t control and we’re free to move and play on a whim. This is especially true for children, but a similar change is also a good idea for adults. It keeps us fresh and engaged with life. As my friend Tim Keller likes to say, “Sometimes a change is better than a rest!”
For the past few years we’ve been taking our camper out into the woods. Last year we ventured a bit further and went all the way to Mount Rushmore. I’d like to report that it’s all gone smoothly, but there always seem to be a mishap. I’ll admit it. When it comes to recreational camping, I’m still a rookie. We’ve had a series of problems, like locking the camper keys in the camper and then having to cut the screen to allow one of the boys through the window.
Nevertheless, trying to ease into the tradition of pulling a fifth-wheel has been a humbling and comical experience for me.
Last summer just when I began to feel like I was getting a handle on our camper, I pulled into a state park for the night. I carefully maneuvered the vehicle and positioned it to allow us to hook up the utilities. As I walked around the passenger side, I smacked my head into one of the window awnings. Writhing in pain, but trying to act tough, I brushed it off and slid under the vehicle to access the water connection. In doing so, I whacked my head again — and nearly passed out! I’m just sorry nobody caught the incident on film. It might very well have qualified for the grand prize on “America’s Funniest Gome Videos.”
Although no camera was running, an old man was watching my bumbling routine from across the road. You could tell he was a veteran camper. From my vantage point, his vehicle appeared to be in excess of 500 feet in length and shimmering like the rising sun. When I finally staggered to my feet and made eye contact with him, I could tell he was disgusted with me. I sheepishly shrugged in embarrassment. He didn’t say a word in response. He just shook his head ad sighed. He spun on his heels and climbed back into his mansion on wheels. All through the weekend I could have sworn that I heard him and his wife snickering at my expense.
I have to say that regardless of the challenges of camping, something very special occurs with our family under the open sky. We find ourselves relaxed and more playful. We tell more stories and seem to laugh twice as hard at silly jokes. It’s time well spent…