Children need to experience adventure with their Dads. I am talking about real life adventure, not just video games. Helen Keller said, “Life is either a daring adventure or nothing.”
I remember my dad talking to me as a young boy about the difference between experiential adventures and vicarious adventures. He said that there are three types of adventure:
Firstly – active adventures. Those that you experience first-hand, in the flesh, usually with other people.
Secondly – by reading adventure books. Your imagination creates scenes from the words you read. This is a good thing. My Dad was a strong advocate of reading and science shows this is the truth.
Thirdly – totally passive adventures that you enjoy through either watching a movie or playing video games. For many children today, that is all they ever experience.
My Dad brought me up to put a premium on active adventure, which, looking back, was a very wise move.
When Dads4Kids first started the Good to Great Fathering Course, we realised that we had to get both Dads and kids away from the TV and video games, and create a weekend of good old-fashioned family fun and adventure.
The Dads4Kids Fun Camp was born, and it has become an annual event in the Dads4Kids Calendar; some Dads and their kids travel quite a way to be part of it.
What are the key ingredients in having a successful active adventure with your children that will be both fun and exciting?
Firstly, you have to be prepared to JOIN with others. Someone once said, “Life was meant for good friends and great adventures”.
In this case the smallest number of people you have to take with you is your child. Better still, go with other Dads and their children to help create even greater memories. The Dads4Kids Fun Camp scores well in that regard. A great group of Dads and their children joining together to make lasting friendships and memories.
I will use the acronym JOIN as my basis to explain the four key secrets to having a successful active adventure with your children.
J – Journey.
An adventure first requires some sort of journey to your destination. Choose a place where half the fun is getting there. As J R Tolkien said in Lord of the Rings, “It’s a dangerous business, Frodo, going out your door. You step onto the road, and if you don’t keep your feet, there’s no knowing where you might be swept off to”. John Steinbeck put it this way, “People don’t take trips, trips take people”.
O – Outdoors.
Yes, you can have an indoor adventure, but an outdoor adventure is a billion times better. Going to a remote location in the wilderness is half the excitement but having your adventure in the outdoors connects you with forces beyond yourself.
Think about it. We live, or tend to live, in controlled environments. We live in homes in quiet suburban streets and most of us are surrounded by concrete, steel and glass (at work and school anyway).
The best place to have an adventure with your children is in some level of wilderness or wildness as the shortened form would indicate. There is something amazingly wonderful about sitting around a campfire at night with a bunch of Dads and their children. Better still, looking up at the stars in the clear night sky when camping and getting a sense of the vastness of the universe.
Leslie Stephens said, “The wilderness provides an environment for a child’s inner life to develop because it requires him to be constantly aware of his surroundings”. Edward Abbey wisely said, “Wilderness is not a luxury but a necessity of the human spirit”.
I – Injoy.
You will only find this word in the Urban Dictionary because it is a relatively new creation. “Injoy is stronger than enjoy, for injoy is more of joy filling you from the inside of yourself. Having internal joy.”
I often say that children spell love F-U-N. Scientists say that having fun is good for you. Joy is linked to fun, but joy becomes irrepressible when you mix it with a journey to the outdoors laced with adventure and joined by friends. Memories are made of it. “To get the full value of joy you must have someone to divide it with” – Mark Twain.
N – Now.
We need to live in the now, just as our children do, if we are to have a successful active adventure with our kids. What is the greatest enemy of living in the now? Our current preoccupation with our screens.
Emily Dickinson said, “Forever is composed of nows”. A.A. Milne said it beautifully in Winnie-the-Pooh:
“What day is it?” asked Pooh. “It’s today”, squeaked Piglet. “My favorite day”, said Pooh.
That’s why it is so important to get away to the no-reception areas in the wilderness, away from our mobile phones. They are wonderful servants but terrible masters. Adventure is always in the now!
I encourage you to take your children into the outdoors for an adventure. You will never regret it. The wilderness is waiting.
Yours for more adventure,
PS: Fancy an adventure with your children? Come to the Dads4Kids Fun Camp at Wollondilly River in the southern tablelands of NSW, 1 & 2 November 2019.
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Journey to Bethlehem takes the story of Jesus' birth and repackages it as an upbeat and joy-filled family-fun musical adventure. Support this film so that more quality Christian movies hit the big screen!
Opportunities to seek out adventure are only limited by your imagination and budget, but there are ways to escape inexpensively. An adventure together was exactly what the girls and I needed, and an educational road trip could be a good place to start.