Family vacations are always a great opportunity to learn and grow together. During a Spring Break Family Getaway with other families to Camp Kulaqua in April, I learned three important lessons about life.
Working together is necessary and rewarding
When doing things together or with other families, we call our family Team Blackstone.
This last camping trip we got to do one thing we love doing a lot, canoeing with large squirt guns and other families we know, or kind of know. With a family of six, you have to have two canoes, which is great for flanking other canoes and dousing them with water. We think it’s a lot of fun to get wet in a canoe, whether you agree or not Team Blackstone thinks so. But you do have to work together or you will be overtaken, and you will be the one getting wet. You have to synchronize, communicate and understand what the other people are doing for speed and stability. No, we did not capsize a canoe. We’re not rookies.
My three sons were in one canoe, and they had yet to learn how to work together. It was the first time when Marcie and I were together in a caone. My oldest was trying to lead and figure out how to work in sync with one brother trying to steer from the front and the one in the middle, just sitting happily with a loaded squirt gun like he was in a tank. At first they didn’t understand that they had to communicate and give grace to each other when they switched sides. There was some “very strong communication” between the two of them until they learned how to work together. After the first 20 minutes they learned how to work more closely together with grace and understanding.
That is really how we need to work in life – with grace and understanding in love together. My wife and I knew how to work together in a canoe and really enjoyed our rapid descent on other families. My daughter sat between us doing all she could to manage the large squirt gun. In the end we turned on each other and no one left the trip dry as usual. We would like to thank the other canoeing families on the river at that time. You gave us great joy.
Ask for help
My wife and I had another amazing example of how working together with grace and understanding really can accomplish great things. Marcie gave my daughter a slinky a week before the trip. With all new toys they go everywhere you go, even camping. I think Slinkys are disposable after they get tangled; however, my daughter didn’t. That Slinky got tangled in the car, the lodge and even outside. I still can’t get the slinky sound out of my head. One time my little girl got it so tangled it would have to take an act of God to get it untangled. But I was determined for my daughter’s joy and her father being a hero to untangle the twisted scrap metal mess. I sat for almost a half hour trying to get it undone, without bending the coils, while talking with my wife. I finally asked her for some help. I needed an extra set of hands. So I finally asked her to lend a few fingers here and there stretching out the coils. Yes, four hands are always better than two working together. Within seconds I saw the problem and was able to undo the slinky but only with the help of my wife. All she did was lend a few fingers, but all I had to do was ask. Just at that moment my daughter came around the corner and saw her slinky saved, fixed and restored back to life. I had to ask for help and work together with my wife to get my little girl her Slinky back.
Examine yourself and your kids
The next lesson we learned was you must check yourself regularly. The Bible tells us in 2 Corinthians 13:5 to examine yourself. “Examine yourselves to see if your faith is genuine. Test yourselves. Surely you know that Jesus Christ is among you; if not, you have failed the test of genuine faith” (NLT).
We were camping in a place north of Central Florida where there were lots of tall grass, open fields, trees, lightning bugs, dear, animals and … ticks. Yes, that’s a little gross, but what’s more so is them on you. I have never been so freaked out than I have after Googling ticks. So we had to check our kids every night. We examined with flashlights their bodies and hair for little evil creatures. Fortunately we only found a few over the week except on one of my boys. I heard other families weren’t so fortunate, and it was not a great experience.
The lesson we learned was you have to check yourself every day. Examine your heart, mind, body to see what evil things may have attached themselves to you that you were not aware of. We need to remind ourselves and make a habit of checking our self every day. Just like praying everyday we need to look for things that need to be changed or removed.
I’ll admit it was a bit tedious as our kids have lots of freckles. So there was extra caution in checking our kids to see if the freckles had legs. Especially my beautiful daughter, who is covered head to toe in freckles.
God gives us a lot of lessons in life. We can choose to ignore them or we can choose to learn from them and examine ourselves daily. Either way he is going to teach us lessons. I would just personally like to learn it the first time rather than going through over and over and over what he has to teach me. I hope and pray that you can see lessons as opportunities to grow and learn and teach others in your life. Whether big or small, God has lessons every day if we can see troubles or situations as opportunities rather than just frustrations.