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Lessons From A Camping Trunk

Originally published Friday, 18 January 2013.

For the last 2 summers my oldest daughter has spent a full week at a nearby Christian camp. The weeks leading up to it are always full of excitement for her and include wearisome tasks for me! There are theme nights to prepare for, trunks to decorate and flash lights to dig out! After gathering each item from the provided list of “what to bring,” the real work begins. With my sharpie in hand, I plant myself in front of the piles of folded clothes, shopping bags of random new items and a large box of gallon sized Ziploc bags! Each bag is labeled with terms like “day 1,” “dirty clothes,” “extra,” and “martial arts night!”

As an extra treat I create care packages with treats like stickers, note cards, scented erasers and other items she loves in order to remind her that she is missed throughout the week! I am also sure to place a few bucks in her camp store account so she can get things I may have forgotten.  Best of all, my husband and I write notes and small gifts each day that are reminders to her of who she is and why she is at camp.

When the time finally arrives and she is packed up and ready to go, I am confident that she has everything  she needs to survive for 1 week in the woods…without me! And I must admit I feel accomplished and pleased with my ability to fit everything into her trunk.

Preparing to send my daughter off for a week has served as a gentle and sweet reminder of what I should be doing each day I have with her.

As a parent, God has given you the task of preparing a trunk of items that your child can live out of…without you. You are to seek out the tools they need and delicately present them in a way that your child can sort through and pull out practical and special treats of love and wisdom to uplift and encourage them on their journey!

Now I wish I could tell you differently, but when I picked my daughter up from camp last year, there were about three Ziploc bags that had not been touched. All of her camp store money had been spent on Sodas and Popsicles and we were missing a few towels, shirts and socks! However, I knew this was not a result of her lacking necessary items but rather a result of the path she chose.

Your child might not always pull the right item out of the trunk, but I can promise you she has a better chance if the trunk is full of emotional and spiritual blessings that you have purposefully placed for that time when you know they’ll need it.

What things are you placing in your kid’s trunks? How much effort and preparation are you devoting to imparting tools, preparing their hearts and decorating their worlds with the things of Christ?