Last week, I took my oldest son, Micah, camping. It was our first camping trip together – just the two of us. As our trip was nearing, I was amazed at how excited I was. The nights leading up to our time together, I could not stop telling Kristy how excited I was to take my boy camping and actually spending some quality one-on-one time with him. I enjoyed every single minute of packing our supplies, buying our groceries and buying Micah his first fishing pole. Quite honestly, I think I was more excited than he was.
I took Micah to the same camping grounds that our family went to when I was growing up. I decided not to make reservations, because I was nervous that if I reserved a site that I ended up not liking – I’d be stuck with it. So, I chose to take my chances and arrive early in the day to pick out a site that would be just right. Before we left, I asked Kristy to pray that we get a great site and that we have a great time together.
After a two hour drive, Micah and I arrived. I drove up to the window and said, “We don’t have reservations, but we’d like a camping site.” The sweet little woman at the window said, “Well, we have one site left.”
There are over 200 sites at this campground and they had just one left?
I said, “We’ll take it!”
As we drove through the park, we wove our way down the winding roads through the rolling hills and finally arrived at our campsite. As soon as I noticed which site was ours, I felt this sinking feeling inside. Our site was wide open! We were practically sharing a site with the people next to us. You could count the number of trees in and around our site – and we were supposed to be in the woods! I tried to put on a happy face for Micah as we began to set up camp. I sent a text to Kristy that said, “BUMMER! Our site SUCKS!”
We had a great time setting up camp, but I couldn’t seem to shake my feelings of being bummed. I just felt like the whole trip was going to be affected by our site being so open. It wasn’t what I wanted. It wasn’t what I expected.
After setting up camp, I gave Micah his fishing pole and I took him fishing for the first time in his life. It was the coolest thing. He caught all kinds of stuff. He hooked a tree. He caught some grass. He even reeled in a pier. And he loved every single minute of it. As we were sitting there casting our lines, Micah looked up at me and said, “Dad, you don’t like our firecamp?” (He called our campsite a firecamp.) I was taken aback. I hadn’t said anything to him about not liking our site. I hadn’t spoken it out loud to anyone (I intentionally texted Kristy so he would not hear me talking to her about it.) I looked at him and said, “No, Micah – I like our firecamp. Why?” To which he replied, “I was just wondering because I really like it.”
At that moment I realized that if it didn’t bother Micah, then there was no reason in the world that it should bother me. From that moment on, I had a change of attitude, a change of mind and a change of heart. And I had the most amazing time with my son.
On our trip, I taught Micah how to pitch a tent, start a fire, cast a line, scramble eggs, tell spooky stories, roast hot dogs on an open flame and find a private place in the woods to pee.
On our trip, Micah taught me not to let my circumstances determine my attitude and experience.