Tonight, fatherhood had a smell- the smell of wood smoke, fried bacon, and spring air. after 2 weeks of having the church youth campout rained out, my son had had enough. He was determined to camp!
It was really too dark to set up camp. But it is never too dark for a fire. My son agreed to spending time around the campfire instead of the full blown camping experience.
If you ask me, we experienced the best part of camping. There is so much to teach to, and learn from, your children while sitting around a fire.
With damp wood, newspaper, and 2 matches, I was able to strike up an admirable campfire. Fire building is a skill I have taken great pride in since my Boy Scout days, and both my sons contributed. They gathered kindling, helped set the tender in place, and served as gofers for me. I taught my 6-year-old all the reasons fire is important for camping. I showed them the lean-to configuration for starting a fire. And they watched in awe as the fire came to life.
As cool and practical as these learning point were, so many more important events were taking place:
Fire kindles kinship. Our Judeo-Christian ancestors were guided by fire. They offered sacrifices by fire. They depended on fire. Fire is essential, throughout time, across cultures, across continents. More than just physical closeness occurs when people gather around a flame- kindred spirits join together.
Fire demands respect. Fire is dangerous. Respect for fire has to be learned quickly. There are rules that must be followed. I constantly reminded my sons not to run around the fire or get too close to the fire, telling them they would get burned if they fell in. So many things that we need in life can also be dangerous. Responsibility is essential. Spending time around the fire helps to build responsible behaviors.
Fire spreads light. I realized after a time that I had not been distracted by my phone a single time. I was content. More than that, my son was just talking away- and he felt like someone was listening. Because I was. He asked questions: “How did people cook before there was fire?” My response was, “I guess they didn’t!” I didn’t know all the answers. He asked me if we see people who have already died when we get to heaven. I told him that we will. He asked questions about who we might see in heaven that have already gone before- talked about what we might say. Little brother wanted to be in between us- my eldest didn’t want to give up his spot. I explained that the little guy felt safer between to big guys. He accepted that, and learned that he is someone his brother feels safe with. We all learned a little more than we would have if we had been doing something else tonight.
What will it take to stoke your fire for parenting, and your children’s fire for having a relationship with you? It doesn’t have to be building an actual fire- but we can all stand to stoke the fire inside a little more often.
What do you think? Let me know in the comments!
Copyright (c) 2013 Glen Gaugh