Life Notes: Time Again
by David Wheeler, Ph.D.

Recently I took my 7 year old son camping at our Outdoor Wilderness Learning Center (OWL) that the Methodist Children’s Home is continuing to develop. We pitched a tent, roasted hotdogs, fished, hiked, and had a great time. My 9 year old daughter was not happy that we were going to one of her favorite places without her (even though she was staying the night with a friend). To appease her I told her I would take her at the first available opportunity, which turned out to be the next weekend.

One neat thing about the OWL is that you really feel like you are out in the woods, without cars driving by and noisy camping neighbors. There are rustic cabins, a newly constructed bunkhouse, and many other facilities for groups. I have taken a small group from church to camp there before and the prices are reasonable. However, in this instance it was neat to just have a father and daughter campout. We went to the volleyball court to look up at the stars (which was a great view) and my daughter began to play in the sand. It was easy to imagine being at the beach. We hooted back and forth with a nearby owl and watched for shooting stars. We played chase in the sand and had some great laughs.

So why am I writing about this in the newspaper? Because I believe it is an investment. As a matter of fact, spending quality time with our children is one of the greatest investments that we can make. It may be easier for some dads to spend time with their sons. However,
girls need their dads as well. They need us fathers (or grandfathers or stepfathers) to teach them about their value by demonstrating how valuable they are to us just because of who they are. What better way could there be than spending undivided, focused, quality time with them? This says to them, “You are valuable; you are special; you are o.k. just like you are.”

This may be the best way to influence the values and choices that they will make in their lives. Most importantly, it helps to give them a foundation of security from which to build their lives.

The Life Notes articles are written by staff of Louisiana Methodist Children’s Home and are published in The Ruston Daily Leader.

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