Camping Trip Lesson

Trying to do too much is a theme in the lives of many educators, but we make it work because we love life…  every complicated minute of it. Wednesday, my husband made reservations for a tent site at a campground a couple of hours away from home.  He wanted to take our son on his first fishing trip.  At first it seemed like it was going to be a father/son trip, but then my daughter and I were invited too.  Despite the fact that I had a six hour graduate class on Saturday and a few chapter reviews due, I agreed to join the fun.

The trip didn’t get off to the best start. Our son had an audiologist appointment yesterday afternoon. After a communication malfunction regarding the time of the appointment, we faced a two hour departure delay, and set off on our trip with a little mommy/daddy tension.  Dinner at Chick-fil-A was great, but our navigation system caused some minor confusion. Then it started to thunder… lightning…, and rain.  The kids began to feel frightened and said they wanted to be safe.

A bird flew into our windshield.  That didn’t help matters.  Once we got to the site and realized all the fun stuff was a really long walk from the tent site, my husband began to have strong reservations about spending the day there alone with the two kids while I drove his truck an hour and a half away to class.  The ground was wet and the kids weren’t giving any impression they were excited about getting out of the truck in the dark to crawl into a tent in the middle of the wet wilderness.

So, I alternated between patiently supportive and quietly prayerful, giving my husband time and space to battle his indecision (expletives unmentioned).  My husband contemplated a night’s hotel stay and trying again today, but when he stopped to ask for directions and the locals said, “hold on while we figure out where we are…” my husband concluded they didn’t have enough sense to be of any help and decided to head home.  Once we were back on the interstate, he asked, “What have we learned from this trip?”  My answer was, “Pray before we head out rather than once we start hitting obstacles.”  I would have said, “Plan better,” but he had a pretty good plan, albeit spontaneous.  So, we found ourselves pulling into our driveway 1am.  After 4 hours on the road, with a few bird feathers stuck to the windshield, our children groggily climbed into our arms without complaint.

Today, after class, I got the text from my husband that he and the kids had set up tent at a state park closer to home.  I called my teenager and asked him to meet us here.  He did.  My in-laws arrived with my niece and nephew and we ended up having a much better time than if the original trip had gone as planned!  The two teacher words I have long lived by come to mind, “modify and adjust.”  When we modify our plans and adapt to the needs (social and emotional above academic) of those we serve, it is truly a rewarding experience for everyone involved.