Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Life Lesson List

We're in Ohio this week visiting my in-laws. Part of the reason for our visit was to take part in the annual camping trip my in-laws go on with my brother-in-law and niece. I used my pregnancy as an excuse to opt out of actually sleeping in a tent for two nights but spent both days until about 10pm at the campsite with everyone. It really was a lovely time. Lucas got to go fishing, play in a lake, go on a hike, sleep in the tent and otherwise enjoy being outside and in nature.

As dinner approached on the first evening, starting the campfire was in order. We'd purchased a large bundle of wood from a place near the campground and Abel's father proceeded to throw some large logs into the fire pit and light a few paper towels. Needless to say, it burned out in minutes. Abel's brother then jumped in, correctly stacking the wood and adding several more paper towels. It burned for a few minutes longer. I made the announcement that we needed kindling and started collecting it, but no one was really interested in using it. The fire was barely holding on. When I returned the next morning, I learned that they had used an entire bottle of lighter fluid to keep the fire going into the night!

On the second night, I decided to take control of starting the fire. I collected as much kindling as I could, but was unable to gather much after the large pile I had gathered the previous night. I purchased some fire starter sticks from the commissary. They were each about the size of a single twix bar. I used a modified A frame of large logs with the kindling and two fire starter sticks in the middle. The fire started slowly but grew into a very hot, solid burn. It lasted all night and burned through even the largest of the logs. My in-laws did not believe that I didn't use even a drop of lighter fluid. I could not have been more proud.

As I sat around that fire, enjoying some yummy s'mores, I realized that the ability to properly start a campfire is one of those things that I want to make sure Abel and I pass down to our children.

I mean, sure, there are so many intangibles that we hope to instill in our children: a strong sense of right and wrong, compassion, a belief in God, an appreciation for nature, the value of voting and participating in our democracy...I could go on.

But there are also tangible things. Some very practical and some just plain fun. Here's the list I started in my head while enjoying that fire--a list of things I want to make sure our children know.

1. How to start a campfire.
2. The recipe--by heart--for our family's favorite No Bake Cookies and how to make the perfect batch (it's actually a bit tricky!).
3. How to change a tire. (Abel will have to be in charge of this one, he's a true expert! I'm sure I could change one in an absolute emergency but am not confident about it.)
4. At least a basic understanding for the rules of football.
5. The rules of several card games including: poker, canasta, shoot the moon and euchre.

As I said, this is just a start. Now that I've started the list, it will be fun to brainstorm and discuss with Abel what other things we'd like to add. I'm dreaming of creating a family book of these life lessons a la The Dangerous Book for Boys (which I got for Abel for Christmas last year and would highly recommend!).

What would you put on your life lesson list?

Original post by Smiling Mama. Thanks for reading!

1 comment:

  1. I am impressed that you know how to build a fire! Here are a few items that I would add to a life lessons list:
    1. How to use an apostrophe correctly:)
    2. How to care for and keep plants alive
    3. How to prepare a nice dinner from scratch


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