Camping’s a box I checked off my to-try list about ten years ago. And it’s been purposely absent from all of my lists since then.
I don’t get the whole camping thing. A walk in the woods? Yes. Dining al fresco? Definitely. Getting away from it all? Absolutely. But a community bathroom (or worse) and no bed? You lost me.
I’d successfully avoided a second experience until my daughter came along and with her, Girl Scouts—famous for cookies . . . and camping.
So the Friday evening before Mother’s Day, I drove her and another mom/daughter duo toward our destiny—Camp Tuckaho.
And here’s what I learned in my 24-hour reunion with the one activity I’d hoped to never do again:
1) Always Flip Your Pillow
After a long day outside, I walked into our sleeping area to catch three girls hopping the entire length of the room, from one person’s bedding to the next.
Whether they had shoes on or not, I’ve blocked from memory. Either way, it’s not good—campground shoes on your pillow or unwashed socks and feet on your pillow.
So before you get cozy, always flip to the good side—figurative pillows too. Because when you’re in a negative state of mind, it’s easy to get comfy there and sink in even deeper. But if you flip your thinking, you’ll end up on the side untouched by stinky thoughts . . . or feet.
2) Some Flowers Bloom in the Rain
I’d never seen my little girl more excited to be outside and exploring nature—other than a beach—than I saw her that weekend. It rained almost the entire day, but she climbed and ran and splashed until her heart was full.
After all, there were flowers, snails, mushrooms, trees, and even suspicious three-leafed plants that needed identifying. And she captured them all in her detailed log, complete with hand-drawn pictures.
She had blossomed, despite or perhaps because of the rain, into the perfect kid-sized adventurer.
3) Seek Guidance from a Higher Power
The girls had a chance to track down hidden treasure by following pre-programmed GPS units. But the tricky part was accuracy—19 feet was as close as each unit would take us.
It’s similar when we look to God for guidance on the big decisions. We’ll get an answer that points us in the right direction, but our job is to figure out the details one step at a time. It’s in those 19 feet where the biggest lessons and growth lie.
4) All Deserve a Second Chance
People, experiences, food—why not defy the cliché and allow that second chance for a first impression?
Extending this courtesy opens us up not only to that person or thing but also to life itself. It’s admitting that maybe we don’t know it all. Maybe, just like us, people and experiences don’t always present their best sides initially.
And if we give it a go, we might just find a treasure of our own waiting there, regardless of whether our impression changes.
Well, my friends, I gave it another shot but I still don’t get the whole camping thing. I love its’ essence—nature and time together—just not its accommodations. But because of this trip, you’ll find my family and I outdoors more, being active and simply being together. The best fortune.
So am I glad I went? Yes. Did I learn big lessons on the trip? Definitely. Do I cherish that time with my daughter? Absolutely. But will I be part of the fun on the fall camping trip? Let’s just say I confirmed that dads are allowed!
Did you enjoy this one? Then make sure to check out my October post, Four Life Lessons from the Police Station. And as always, I value your comments below—they’re what get the conversation going, so let’s get talking!