Now that I'm a dad I've longed to take my children, to help them experience some of the same great things that I experienced when I was younger. To be honest I kind of avoided camping with them for years. I struggled with how to get all the gear, when to make the time and even questioned if I could really do it. It was a small voice in the back of my mind, it kept telling me: "you'll never accomplish this with them. They're going to hate it! "
A couple months ago I told that small voice to "shut up!" We went to REI bought a tent, started gathering up some other gear on craigslist. After nights of looking at locations I finally made our first reservation for a camping trip.
I'm actually writing that sitting on the beach watching my kids play in the water. As I've been thinking for the last couple days here for reasons that I would encourage you to take your kids on a camping trip soon
1. Being in nature is good for your thinking in your mindThere has been significant research done on how important it is for people to be outside. The outdoor stimulate your thinking. It makes you become more creative. It get you out of the monotony of your daily life. There's research also that shows being by running water is even more helpful in this process. It spurs your creative thinking. There is nothing I enjoy more than being outdoors!
2. You can explore new areasOnce we set up our tent we went right down to the beach. The sun was gone but the pink/purple on the horizon was amazing. The girls ran down to the beach and started looking at the edge of the ocean. The tide pools were still submerged but the edges began to show. I had to pull them away from exploring that night, they would have stayed until the batteries in their headlamps died!
The next day we did more exploring! We climbed on rocks, explored the sea line, played in the waves and stared at stars in the night. We enjoyed God’s creation. We watched waves crash up against the rocks of Malibu. We looked for hidden sea caves and even saw different animals scurry around the camp.
3. It might bring back some memories from your childhoodCamping brought back some great memories for me. It reminded me of my dad. My passed away just over four months ago now. I thought about all the camping trips we went on together. I thought of some of the bad memories but for the most part they were good. I thought about my old sleeping bag and wondered what the tent looked like. Being outside created some room for me to search my mind for lost memories that I want to never loose.
4. You have the space to have great conversationsOur campsite had no cell service. Some people might consider this a curse while I look at it as a blessing. The lack of cell service meant the increase in time with my kids. Brian Berry once said "quality time happens in quantity time."
My kids asked some great questions. We talked about God, homeless people, fish, plants, creation and how far away the stars really are. If we had stayed home I can’t image those conversations taking place. If I had better cell service I might have been interrupted during dinner or another time and missed out on it.
As I look back at this first camping trip I’m hoping for many more. Might I encourage you to take your kids camping and create a list of your own?