Monday, October 3, 2016

Reflections from a 10-Year-Old Adventure

I stole an idea from Bob Goff and adapted it. The author of Love Does described giving each of his children an adventure for their tenth birthday.
The idea was simple. The kids got to pick something in the world that captured their imaginations, fanned their whimsy, or sparked their curiosity, and then we said we'd do it together. There was no planning, no preparation, no thinking about all the details. We'd just go do it (pg. 128).
Goff is a man of great financial means. He can afford whimsy - London and India. My budget is whimsy prohibitive: It set me in the middle seat of the thirtieth role of the third boarding group of Frontier Airlines on a midweek flight to an off-season lodge room of the YMCA Snow Mountain Ranch. But our lobby had all-you-can-drink Douwe Egberts, and I had my almost-eleven-year-old daughter, which was well worth the hidden baggage fees.
Image result for dewey egbert coffee
On her actual, tenth birthday, I had provided Claire with a map of the United States. On the map I highlighted three cities: San Diego, Denver, and Boston. Next to each city, I printed off a picture of an animal and description of her adventure. We would whale watch in the Atlantic Ocean and tour historic sites. We would take a behind-the-scenes tour at the San Diego Zoo of the Polar Bears & Friends. Or we would ride horses and hike mountains in Colorado. The choices were tailor made for my daughter Claire, who loves animals more than athletics and food.

What Claire does not love is making choices. She took days before deciding on the trip to Colorado with her dear-old-dad. Between her waffling, school schedules, adoption traveling, and summer vacation plans, we had to postpone her adventure until last week.

Our itinerary provided Claire a four-day hiatus from school, visit with her aunt and uncle, tour of her birthplace, book purchase from the Tattered Cover, and recreational opportunities galore. We rode horseback through the morning chill and changing Aspen trees. We climbed rock walls and swam in an indoor pool. We rode down a summer tubing hill and climbed up several steep hills. And any time we needed to rest, we returned to our bedroom and read books, played games, and (I) posted picture montages on Instagram.

The images captured the adventure at its peaks. Social media excels at highlights. Hidden behind the filters was my bruised abs, Claire's scratchy throat, my anxiety about expenses, Claire's pathetic pallet. While we were thick on adventure, we were thin on conversation and calories. If it were not for the Wendy's in the neighboring town of Fraser, my daughter may have survived on M&Ms and Kix cereal. And try as I may, engaging conversation topics remained elusive.
I had hoped for a rite of passage on this 10-Year-Old Adventure. I wanted to bestow on my daughter treasures of spiritual wisdom. I wanted to spark her wonder with God's glorious creation. I wanted to stir her passion to serve Jesus. I wanted to walk beside her and watch her take ownership of her faith.

These things did not happen. What I did experience was quiet companionship from my firstborn who does not need an adventure to know her father loves her. And I do.

Sometimes my ambitions for Claire rise above her ten-year-old head. Yes, she's growing up fast. All kids do. But at ten (almost eleven), she is still just a kid. I do not need to urge her into adulthood; she will get there soon enough. Some day her faith will be her own, her diet will be balanced, and her want for wisdom will prompt her to ask me for spiritual advice.

And she will, because she knows I love her. Because I have walked with her.

The disciples were unschooled and ordinary like my kids, like all of us. They didn't need all the details because they were on an adventure with a father who wanted to take them. You don't need to know everything when you're with someone you trust. (Goff, Love Does, 136)

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