As a young boy growing up in the Boy Scout program, I was accustomed to camping trips that included long hikes through different, wonderful environments. The lessons taught by the leaders and guides left countless valuable memories and positive influences on my entire life.
Today, I'm blessed to have a grandson who spends a good deal of time at our estate farm. It’s been a seemingly natural transition to take young Charlie on long walks through acres of woods and trails that surround our property. One thing became clear: Charlie loves the adventure of climbing and traversing the rocky creek with his self-made walking stick.
My personal mission is to share my own knowledge of trails, plants and wildlife along the way, while always making excursions something of a game to see how much he remembers from the previous outings. I’ll sometimes share my own childhood "survival" stories as he listens with the greatest of interest. It’s quite common for Charlie to ask questions and create his own interpretations.
One of my observations is how just a little encouragement can have such a positive effect on his self-esteem and level of confidence. There’s no greater reward than to hear Charlie proclaim, “Poppy, this has been the best hike ever!” It usually follows overcoming some barrier or obstacle along the paths.
My next goal is to plan an overnight stay to see how well Charlie adapts to gathering wood for a campfire, making our own sleeping quarters and preparing an evening meal over glowing embers. My guess is Charlie is prepared to be entertained by his "Poppy" while experiencing entirely new adventures. And while Charlie is a typical second grader and enjoys his time online, I'm sure camping and exploring will be the highlight of his summer, and certainly the most memorable.
It doesn’t matter what activity we share with our children or grandchildren. What does make a difference is spending one-on-one time on their level and sharing wholehearted and honest life lessons. It’s our responsibility to pass our family traditions to each new generation. They deserve and respect our personal attention.