Milestones Part II

Last week I told you about celebrating Zach’s 13th birthday with a rock climbing adventure and some great conversations about ‘Doing Hard Things. Another milestone that our family celebrates is the transition from elementary to middle school. Ben (11) is about to take this leap so he and I spent the first part of last week on our family’s traditional father/son camping trip.

We camped for two nights in the Shenandoah National Forest and spent a final night at a friend’s cabin adjacent to the park. We enjoyed a variety of mini adventures along the way. The purpose of our trip was to encourage Ben to find his identity in Christ during the middle school years. Those years are tough for boys and girls. Many lose their way because of the incredible pressure to ‘fit in’.

Stacy and I want our crew to know they don’t have to follow the crowd. As a matter of fact, we have them memorize Romans 12:2 and I give the boys dog tags with the first letter of every word in the verse imprinted. I do this in a quick and personal moment at the top of Bearfence Mountain. Now, all three of our boys (and me) wear matching dog tags. We’re in this together. When you see one of our guys… say this… Do not conform… and they should be able to finish the verse for you.

Ben and I enjoyed our time together but I have to admit, as I lay there in the tent I often thought… I don’t have time for this. I’ve got all sorts of obligations and responsibilities waiting for me. Emails are piling up, I’ve got work to do! But here I am in a tent with my son. I fought this battle each day but I had to remind myself that these moments are precious and fleeting. There will always be work to do and emails to answer. But Ben won’t always be 11 and excited about spending time with dad.

Ideas and plans are great, but execution matters. Guys, I want to encourage you to make investments in your family. You’ve probably got some great ideas and some great excuses. Don’t let your excuses win the battle. Your time with your son or daughter or someone else in your family doesn’t have to be expensive or complex. What really matters is setting the excuses aside to make critical investments.

There is no time like the present to create memories that will last forever.

Click here to watch a video of the interview I did with Ben on the top of Bearfence Mountain.