In part one of this post, we mentioned that camping has been recognized as a common trait among families that are close. A close family is one of the key components in creating a great normal for your children. Creating a great normal for your children will eliminate most of the battles parents fight when their children become teenagers. See what I did there? I fell back on to my serious algebra skills to show that taking your family camping equals great kids.
Here are the remaining twelve reasons why you should take your family camping…the first three are in part one.
4. Your family will be limited technologically. Even if you take technology with you, once you get outside, your usage will go way down. This is a good thing and here’s why: we were made to have our senses stirred by creation and once we find ourselves in the middle of it, it is freeing. To feel the wind, and the sun, and the cool night air is invigorating and inspiring. Technology will always play second fiddle to creation.
5. Your family will stare at the campfire. There are three things in camping that will cause you to stare off into deep thought: campfires, waterfalls, and stars. When it comes to campfires, there’s just something about the way things burn that captures our attention. And count on it, at least one person in your family will feel the need to have a stick to poke the fire. It is inevitable. And more than likely, they’ll pull it out and stare at the flaming tip. Don’t be surprised if the term “light saber” is used when this person is waving their stick around in the air.
6. Your family will stare at waterfalls. Man, I love waterfalls. The sight and sound of rushing water just sucks you in. The other thing about waterfalls is they come with a bonus: if it’s small enough, your kids will have a blast playing in it. Use discretion here and be careful, but waterfalls are just so much fun to explore.
7. You family will stare at the stars. If you are not already aware of this, the farther you remove yourself from the lights of the city, the more stars you will see in the sky. Pull the sleeping bags out of the tents, find a place out from under the trees, plop yourself down and enjoy the incredible lights of the sky. This will go to another level when your child sees their first shooting star. Be prepared for questions.
8. Your family will be intrigued by animals. I briefly mentioned in part one that camping goes to a new level when animals are thrown into the equation. In normal camping situations you may encounter chipmunks, squirrels, deer, raccoons, lizards, salamanders, frogs, turtles, hawks, eagles, opossum (we really need to reconsider how to spell that word), armadillos, crabs, rabbits, pelicans, herons, etc. If you broaden your camping experience you may see bison, marmots, moose, elk, mountain goats, bears, sharks, dolphins, pronghorn antelope, etc. As in all things, use wisdom when it comes to encounters with wild creatures.
9. Your family will be mesmerized by the mountains. Ah, the mountains. The fall leaves of the Appalachians or the snow capped peaks out west. It doesn’t matter. Mountains just cause our jaws to drop.
10. Your family will discover the ocean of the woods. One of the things that is great about the beach is the sound of the waves crashing on the shore…the sound that brings rest to a weary soul. The wilderness has it’s own version of this relaxing sound…the wind in the trees. Do the same thing that you would do at the beach…grab a chair, sit back and enjoy. At least until your kids decide you need to play hide-n-go-seek.
11. Your family will experience the good tired. There is nothing like crawling into your tent after a great day of exploring your surroundings with your children and reading a good book by the light of a headlamp. If you do this right, you will fall asleep quickly. Mastering the ability to sleep is one of the keys to enjoy camping.
12. Your family will find innumerable opportunities for epic photographs. Around the campfire, in front of or in a waterfall, on a mountain, on the beach, in the snow, at the Grand Canyon, in the Redwoods, hiking, canoeing, kayaking, mountain biking…the list goes on and on. Most of the photographs on our epic photo wall are from camping trips. “What? You don’t have an epic photo wall?” Read this.
13. Your family will discover some new truths about food. First, food just tastes better when you’re camping. I’m not exactly sure how this works but it is truth. You can eat a simple PB&J at home, but eat one when you’re camping and it’s the best PB&J you’ve ever had. You will also find yourself eating food you might not have back at home. For instance, food that is dropped on the ground in camp has no “five second rule” attached to it. You just take your time, brush it off and pop it into your mouth. Camping also provides it’s own added condiment: campfire ash. A little bit of it added to a marshmallow or hot dog and you can consider your life completed.
14. Your family will smell weird. This one is from my daughter.
15. Your family will think about God. Nature points to the Creator and in those moments where you are staring off into a fire or a waterfall and/or especially the mountains or the stars, you will contemplate the enormity of it all and the grace given to us. It is a great opportunity to explore conversations with your children about their thoughts on God and how Jesus fits into the equation. We are truly a blessed people to live in such an amazing place. And then there’s heaven.