Kids Need Adventure!

Last week, during a family get-together, Uncle Phil came over from Charleston with a car load of camping gear that he passed along to Dan and Michelle's family. The gear is like new, but he no longer spends his nights in the great outdoors and wanted the next generation to benefit from the experiences he had previously enjoyed. I have observed that camping, hiking and connecting with nature have become even more popular since the Pandemic. Families and individuals have chosen to participate in the original "social distancing" adventures of God's good outdoors.

Follow the leader!
Our New Mexican family members, Reece and Melissa and "company," regularly take excursions north and west toward campsites near Santa Fe and also to their favorite weekend destination in Durango, Colorado! The kids love to hike and get a firsthand experience with nature! They have their sights set on getting an RV in the near future to make the adventures a little more parent-friendly, especially for Melissa, who would rather sleep on a bed than in a sleeping bag! 😃

During my childhood, I "briefly" caught the camping bug after spending a week with my family on Crab Orchard Lake in southern Illinois. I also enjoyed several camping excursions with my Boy Scout Troop 401! The most memorable scouting camp experience was the night it rained and filled up our tent floor. I was awakened and startled in the middle of the night to discover that my friend and fellow scout, Dwain, had floated next to me on his air mattress! We spent the night and part of the next morning bailing water with our camp kit cups! That was a memory for sure!!

Much is being written about the value of experiencing nature as a child. I regularly take the Texas Parks & Wildlife magazine. In a recent article, Heather Kuhlken, wrote that kids are spending "drastically less time in unstructured play than their parents did as children." I have observed this as well. She goes on to recommend that parents need to plan outdoor family projects "that leave plenty of time for independent, unstructured play" so that kids "can follow their curiosity and have their own adventure." (TPWD, November, 2021, p. 42).

Regarding “independent and unstructured play,” … that was my childhood! We would play all day long at the “bare spot” across the street that had an abundance of locust trees. These gave us building materials for our forts and shelters. We played army and dug foxholes in the sandy soils. Yes, we used hatchets and shovels! Remember, I was a Cub and Boy Scout and enjoyed using my hands! We also explored nature in the nearby wooded area with tall trees and the sounds of the outdoors piquing our curiosity and beckoning us to investigate!

About five-hundred years before the birth of Christ, Nehemiah, a Jewish servant in the court of King Artaxerxes of the Persian Empire, was called by God to return to Jerusalem and supervise the rebuilding of the city gates and walls. A special dedication service was planned after the project was completed. The people of God stood while the Book of the Law was read by Ezra, the priest. Then, Nehemiah, the governor, led Israel in an extended prayer of confession and worship. 

At the beginning of their confession, the people praised the God of Creation and declared, "May your glorious name be praised! May it be exalted above all blessing and praise! You alone are the Lord. You made the skies and the heavens and all the stars. You made the earth and the seas and everything in them. You preserve them all, and the angels of heaven worship you." (Nehemiah 9:5-6, NLT).

When I think about how God made and preserves His magnificent creation, it makes me want to shout, "This is my Father's world!" Here's a suggestion for these days of fall, "get outside more!" Enjoy your children and grandchildren in your favorite outdoor settings! I think you will find that your spirit will be lifted by the wonder and adventure of God's good earth! Let all of God's people say, "Amen!"

Mike Keppler, retired pastor,
active churchman and
doting grandparent. 


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