Dad, Where Are We?

You can’t learn before you set out, can you? You go along the road, and you learn as you go. – P.L. Travers

I love a Table of Contents. Whether it’s brand new or something I’ve read before, most every time I pick up a book I like to check its list of chapter titles. Sometimes I do it so I can learn something about the book, while other times I just like to see how many pages I’m in for! Either way, that Table of Contents does my brain good. It’s a key of sorts, a treasure map to get me on track and it often can help to clear a little path through a big forest of words.

And that is what I thought about when I captured this photo on our family’s hike through the woods last weekend:

Valentine Bigfoot Hike February 14, 2014

I’m not sure that you can really see it, but the brambles and thorny vines and ragged stones that envelop this particular area are especially arduous to navigate. Our littlest one is also just the right height to get swatted in the face by a stray branch. It also grows rather dark under the dense tree canopy here, even on the sunniest of days.  I can’t tell you how many times we had to turn back and detour around an obstacle while we were out there that day. At one point, we weren’t even completely certain which way was which. It was then that the girls would stop exploring and move closer to us and say, “Dad, where are we?” or “Dad, which way now?”  In other words, no Table of Contents.

It all makes me think just how much a hike with your family resembles life with your family. Sure there are sunny days and laughter and plenty of fun in the adventure of it, but there are also the thorns and the rocks and the brambles and the questions. Sometimes, we can answer their questions…and sometimes we can’t.  In other words, no Table of Contents.

The saving grace, though, comes in experiencing the hike – and life – together.  I’m certain of it.  Even the hard times have a silver lining when your family has your back.  There is simply nothing like it, not even a Table of Contents.

P.S.  There are two books about being a dad that have transformed my thinking and acting on the subject.  They are The Father Connection by Josh McDowell and These Things I Wish for You by Christopher Kimball.

Good company in a journey makes the way seem shorter. – Izaak Walton