And not only this, but we also exult in our tribulations, knowing that tribulation brings about perseverance; and perseverance, proven character; and proven character, hope; and hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out within our hearts through the Holy Spirit who was given to us. For while we were still helpless, at the right time Christ died for the ungodly. (Rom 5:3-6)

Let not those who hope in you be put to shame through me, O Lord GOD of hosts; let not those who seek you be brought to dishonor through me, O God of Israel. (Psalm 69:6)

Friday, May 6, 2011

Father and Son Trips for the Future

My son and I just returned from a great trip together. With each of my boys God has provided an opportunity for me to take them on a personal "coming of age" trip. We normally do this around the age of 11 or 12. It is a time to talk of responsibility, maturing,. and loving God with all your heart, soul, and mind. These trips have often been spiritual markers in our lives together.

We can look back on these moments and see a turning point in our lives together. A lasting bond does develop. Now I will not say I had everything go perfect, nor as planned. (On Ben's trip our Wrigley Field game was snowed out, yes snow. Micah and I experienced problems at home that needed attention) Yet there are a few things I have found by experience that are helpful to keep in mind.

1. Let the son choose and help plan the trip.
Levi chose for his trip to go to Branson, Missouri. He is an avid fisherman. His friends have also been an influence in their depictions of Silver Dollar City. (See the plugs at the bottom)

2. Make the journey part of the fun.
In preparation for this trip Dads' please know, the ride down can be the most important part. It will prepare his heart to listen to you if first and deeply, you listen to him. Thus, let him talk. Ask questions through out the time. Give him a chance to speak his mind without fear. This has greatly helped me to have future opportunities of my boys sharing with me.

3. Pray.
This is the most important ingredient. Get direction from God first. Know what issues you need to discuss. Realize that you do not need to soak your son with a firehose of information and challenges at once, be progressive. But pray to get God's agenda.

4. Pray with your son, and let him pray.

5. Have fun.
This trip is about enjoying God. So enjoy the blessing of God through out the trip. Keep pointing out the glories of God. Give your son and example of someone who praises God and sees God in every circumstance.

6. Don't worry about money.
Kids react to our having money issues. We try to set a budget and stick with it. If you plan well it does not have to cost much.

7. Take pictures.
The pictures will give you conversation and memory starter when you return. My boys constantly talk about their trips with dad and the things we did.

8. Get them a special souvenir.
I bought Levi yet another knife. This one has his name on it. Many kids have a special memory attachment to a purchase made in their honor.

9. Be dad.
I say be dad and not their friend. be responsible and show them how to "man up" without compromise. Strive for integrity. If you have ever blown it with your kid seek forgiveness. Also, share your stories. This will help your son relate to you and build love.

10. Know your son.
After this is all over, do not go back to business as usual. Take time alone and with your wife to reflect upon the time together. Make changes in your own life to accommodate your life to your son. Your entire trip can be wasted if this step is not followed.

The Plug.
First off I want to say that we sailed Table Rock Lake with a fine guide. Rick LaPoint could not have been a better blessing. He was absolutely patient and seemed to look forward to working the day with an active eleven year old boy. Rick isn't pushy, but I opened the door and asked about his story. He is not ashamed of the gospel and the entire six hours proved to reinforce all I wanted to teach my son. All I can say is God put us with the right man. You can contact him at

We stayed at Bavarian Resort. We were actually able to meet up with Rick for the day right at the dock. The room we had was freshly remolded and provided a kitchenette. It was exceptionally clean. The staff there is great. We were even able to purchase our Silver Dollar City tickets (2 days for the price of 1) and my fishing license from Michelle at the front desk. By the way, it is only about a mile and a half from SDC. We will be back. Their website is

Silver Dollar City may be the best smelling theme park around. Whether it be the craftsmen of lye soap, the leather works, the blacksmith, the cedar shingle makers, or even the woodcarvers, it is all an olfactory delight. If you think the crafts smell good, you ought to go to smell the foods. Wonderful!