I’ve been camping, many, many times in my life. I started as a young mother just day camping with my babies, then moved up to join scouts and go to camps with my children, and to enjoy our local wildlife refuge with my husband. At first I was scared. I had never really camped as a child. I didn’t know anything about the wilderness except walking through it, driving to it and leaving to eat and go back home. My first time really camping I watched intently, took lots of notes and asked lots of questions! There were lots of girl scout moms there to help and to teach me. If you don’t know-ask. As I reflect on my years camping I have learned so much. I’ll try to distill it here.
Yes, gratitude that my reality at home is clean, potable water at the turn of a tap, a fire that turns on and is safe in my house, and electricity for light anytime of the night. Water and fire and cooking are the three main things you struggle with camping. They are the three things people all over the world struggle with everyday. I am so grateful that my country is so wealthy that even our poorest have a better standard of living than most 3rd world countries. When I’m done “playing” and camping I can go home to a hot shower and food my husband didn’t have to hunt for. It reminds me every time that I really don’t have ANYTHING to complain about here in the US.
It doesn’t come from taking what other’s have or hurting others to make yourself better. It comes from pulling your own weight and helping yourself. It comes from knowing you can be self-sufficient if need be. It comes from being prepared. It comes from having a healthy sense that in an emergency you could keep your cool and take care of your family. I learned a lot of this from camping. Camping is training and practice for all of this.
Courage comes from the inner sense that you must move forward, no matter how scared you are. Learning valuable life and oudoors skills as well as survival skills give you a deeper well of courage to draw on when you need it.
Your Family Is Your Team in Life
Being together, out in the wilderness you have to rely on each other. You learn each other and you practice fitting together like a puzzle to get jobs done. Everyone learns that they are valuable to the family and everyone learns to help out because it takes a lot of hands to do the work of the outdoors home.
Healing Your Mind
I sometimes forget, in all the hubbub of getting fires going and cooking that I’m there not to transfer my household duties to a much more difficult environment, but to be outside. Let God’s gift of nature heal you. Stop and take time to be still and enjoy it. Enjoy your children reveling in it. These will be the best memories.
Along the line of the last paragraph is loving yourself. If tea makes you happy then bring it, make it. If being happy is kicking up your legs by a stream and reading an Agatha Christie book, then do it! Treat yourself well so you can show your children and spouse that same love. Speak love to others and yourself. Take time to do things you want to do.
Have a wonderful time camping!
Home and incredibly blessed on Kansas Street,