Last week, there’s a reason I didn’t get a new blog post out. I was getting to do something that I have been looking forward to for such a long time.
For Christmas this past year, my wife and I decided to give our kids a very unique present. Instead of going on a family vacation, we decided to take each kid on an individual trip. That means Jenna would take each of our daughters, Avery and Ellie, on their own trip. I got to take Tucker. Just me and him. We set a budget for each trip and told the kids we would take them anywhere they wanted to go.
Last week was my trip with Tucker. He wanted to go camping, so I started looking for campgrounds around the Southeast. We found a fantastic little campground on the outskirts of Branson, MO, so last Saturday we set out.
What an amazing adventure we had! We pulled a pop-up camper from Cookeville, TN to Branson, MO. What should have taken 10 hours to make the initial drive took a solid 12 hours because Google Maps tried to take us down a country road that ended with us sitting on a one-lane dirt road looking at a creek with no bridge. Not once, but twice! Tucker thought it was exciting, but I was honestly sweating it. I was thinking, “how in the world are we going to get out of this?” After some fancy maneuvering by backing a camper between some trees, we finally made our way to the campground.
We went into the 6-day trip with very few plans. We got to spend 3.5 hours at the 500,000 square Bass Pro Shop headquarters, catch a foul ball and get it autographed at a Springfield Cardinals baseball game, catch rolls being thrown to us from across the restaurant at Lambert’s, worship with a wonderful congregation at Branson church of Christ, ride bikes around the campground, and journey 500 feet underground in Marvel Cave at Silver Dollar City. We spent time playing cards in the camper, listening to the rain while we slept, and doing family Bible time with the girls over FaceTime.
What an amazing week. When we first decided to make this a present for the kids at Christmas, we were hoping to make some good memories for the kids. We also hoped to get some good bonding time. I never dreamed that it would have been a week as perfect as it was. Every little glitch and hiccup during the trip made a great story to tell.
The purpose of this post is very simple. I urge you to find ways to spend more quality time with your children. Talk to your spouse and see if you can make it one-on-one time. If you can’t plan a trip like we did, then go on date nights. Take your sons fishing or to a ballgame. Take your daughters to a play or out to eat. My oldest daughter likes coffee, so we sometimes hit the local coffee shop and walk through the park together. It doesn’t have to be extravagant. Just be purposeful about it. Put it on your calendar, or it won’t happen. Let your kids be involved in making the plans so that you ensure the plans are something they will enjoy. Be open to new ideas and don’t stress over making it perfect. We had a waterline bust in the camper when we first got there, but we have stories to tell about how we cleaned it up and then found the needed part at a local hardware store. Just be together. Those experiences help to open up the line of communication between you and your children, which allows for more opportunities to share with them Jesus Christ and the joy of living the Christian life. I promise that you will never look back on your life wishing you had not made the trip, but it’s possible you may look back wishing you had made more of them.
*If you are in the Branson, MO area and like to camp, I strongly recommend that you check out the Jellystone Campground (www.jellystonebranson.com). They were a great young family that lived on site to care for the campground while homeschooling their two kids. We aren’t paid advertisers or endorsers…just extremely satisfied campers!