I never went on a camping trip with my father. At least not one that I can remember. Dad, if your reading, no hard feelings. It never really bothered me because I didn’t know what I was missing. By the time I started RVing with my own children, about five years ago, I was having too much fun with them to get all sad and mopey about the past.
So why do I bring it up? Because I think my personal lack of father/son camping time has subconsciously inspired me to try and be a better father. Too many fathers that I know struggle to find quality time to spend with their children. Not me. My family spends over 40 nights a year in our RV (weekends in the spring and fall, and long trips in the summer) and when it comes to spending quality time with my children–my cup runneth over. I know who they are–and they know me.
Sometimes, in the summer, I even wonder if we are spending too much time in the RV and not enough time at home. There have been two occasions, where after 16 days on the road I have wanted to extend our trips, but wondered if it was best for the boys. So we asked them if they wanted to keep traveling or go home. They said that they missed grandma and their friends. So we packed up and went home. That simple.
But over the last year the boys have become more and more comfortable on our longer and more adventurous trips to places like Cape Cod, New Hampshire, and Acadia National Park. Now when we get ready for a camping trip Max always asks if this will be a long trip or a short trip. Why? Because Max loves long trips. Good thing–because mommy and daddy do too. Travel guides to Montana, Wyoming, and Utah have already been purchased–and they will be used.
So why do these trips matter so much to me as a father? And why do my boys share that love? Because RVing allows us to leave behind all of life’s distractions and unecessary material possessions and just focus on each other in beautiful and adventurous landscapes. Think mountains, rivers, streams, oceans, sunsets, and night skies filled with stars. And did I mention camp store ice cream?
Why else do I love RVing with my children? Because, on a very personal level, it has transformed fatherhood into my greatest and most satisfying adventure. Too many dads think that the fun ends when the kids are born, and that their days of being young and easy are over. But I feel reborn each time I hitch up and head out. For me the adventure is always just beginning…
That is a really good explanation of why it is important to get out and do things with the kids. Even if it is not camping, because that is not everyone’s cup of tea, spending time and doing things with the kids is really important. Our kids were a little older than yours (not too much) when we started camping, and yes there were some “rough” times especially during the teen years, the memories of those trips still punctuates the conversations when they are together.
So true…we don’t want to communicate the message that it is always easy and amazing to travel with kids. But we do feel it is worth it–every time.
What a beautiful message for fathers and mothers alike!! Even if people can’t RV, you both continue to inspire regardless!!! Love this family!!
Thank you SO much, Dorothy. Absolutely right…You don’t have to have an RV to enjoy the great adventure of life with kids:-)
This is a beautiful story and I wish my children were young again. I miss the family adventures we shared. I never thought about RVing but, we had a lake house in Michigan not too far from Elkhart, Indiana. When you speak of your children and being a great father, I hope it sparks an interest with other fathers. I do remember my son on the dock early in the morning fishing with his Dad. It was priceless and I’m thankful for all those great family times at the lake house in Michigan. My son recently told me he miss his childhood because he has great memories as a little boy. That was great to hear.