Have you ever wished that you could attend a get together with friends and young children without the worry of hearing bad language, alcohol drinking, smoking, or gossiping?
This month I attended a father and daughter weekend canoe trip with friends from several local churches. I am a grandfather, and I was invited to participate by my son-in-law and granddaughter.
Six fathers and their young daughters, ages nine to eleven, and I floated down the James River headwaters, stopping overnight at a campground and then continuing downstream to a take-out point. The girls and fathers set up camp and cooked meals. Each canoe contained one father in the back and his daughter in the front. The fathers fished while the daughters paddled along the river. The James River flows fast enough along this section so that it did not take a lot of effort to navigate downstream. Occasionally, some of the girls would jump into the water for a refreshing dip in the river.
The rapids were easily-navigated whitewater Class I's and II's. Fathers provided lunch from the coolers carried in their canoes. Sometimes the canoeist would turn upstream and try to surf the rapids.
On Sunday morning we had an informal worship service thanking God for the opportunity to take the trip and the blessing, as well as responsibility, that fathers have in raising their daughters in Christian love and understanding.
The additional blessing for me was that the trip was free of alcohol, drugs, bad language, swearing, and inappropriate dress. Unlike work family picnics that I have attended in the past, this activity was a breath of fresh air--literally as we enjoyed God's outdoor magnificence, and figuratively, as we enjoyed fellowship that would please our Lord. Before, I was afraid to attend these type of activities because of what my children might hear or see. What a delight to be free of all of that worry and to be with Christian family and friends. I thank God that He provides times like this because of His great love and care for us and our spiritual and emotional needs. He knows us so well.
Proverbs 22:6 reminds us, "Train up a child in the way he should go," (NIV). I know that this weekend will remain in the hearts of these girls--having enjoyed fellowship with their earthly fathers, who are training them to draw closer to their heavenly Father, as well.
My Native Ultimate 12 foot Kayak
Headwaters of the James River near Roanoke Virginia
Fathers and their daughters paddling along the river
Paddling and fishing along the James River