He that troubleth his own house shall inherit the wind: and the fool shall be servant to the wise of heart. —Proverbs 11:29, KJV
Every family has its challenges. Work can get in the way of family time and worry over bills, health concerns and commitments outside the home sap our energy. Even sitting down together as a family for dinner in the evening can be a challenge as you juggle everyone’s schedules.
It’s important to remember that God created us to live in families, and to honor Him we need to do all we can to strengthen the bonds between family members. Getting away — far away — from the distractions and pressures that compete for our time at home can help everyone reconnect and focus on what really matters.
Camping impacts the lives of everyone in the family, regardless of age. Leaving everyday activities behind to enjoy the beauty of God’s creation helps parents remember — or discover with their children — the wonder of the natural world. There’s nothing like gazing up at the night sky and marveling at the thousands of stars twinkling back. Memories that you create in the outdoors will last a lifetime.
Camping is an economical way to escape for some quality family time, but what if you’ve never tried it and don’t know where to start or even what to pack? What if not everyone in the family is open to the idea of roughing it in the wilderness?
Try it at home first. Borrow some tents — and sleeping bags, if you don’t have them — and camp for a night in the backyard. That way, you can test out your equipment with a safety net close by. If starts to rain and the tent leaks, you’ll be able to retreat to your warm, dry bed inside.
Another option is to register for a family camp. Family camps take care of the set-up and planning for you, even providing you with a list of what to bring. This can be an excellent way to experience camping for the first time while taking the pressure of planning off the parents, leaving that precious time for more important things, like reconnecting with one-another and the children over campfires, hikes and more.
If family members balk at sleeping in a tent or are convinced that they just can’t go anywhere that doesn’t have hot, running water and toilets that flush, you can always opt for the “not-so-rustic” approach to camping. Rent a cabin or stay in a lodge or an RV. A cabin in the woods is still a great way to expose your family to all the joys of camping, just without the tent.
Many camp and conference centers these days offer modern guest rooms that are like hotel rooms, but without distractions like cell phones, laptops and television. If you absolutely require access to phone or internet service, check with the facility about reception.
If you grew up camping and your spouse did not, step up and be the teacher. Strive to make each moment teachable, rather stressful. Be flexible about activities. You may have loved fishing as a child, but not everyone is cut out for it. You can still enjoy teaching your children about the different fish and other creatures in the water.
Remember, the memories you create while spending time camping with your family will stick with them later, so focus on making them positive.