It was a beautiful day. The sun woke up slowly and gently warmed the day. We gathered with friends for a field trip. I had anticipated fun. I had not expected a lesson. Why am I surprised that God chooses the daily pieces of my life to show me, teach me and mold me. He is so good!
We first gathered for lessons on boating and fishing safety. Our entire group was together. We then split into groups. (This was something that didn't please some of my boys. They did not want to be separated!) For this trip, Eliana and I stayed with the younger group, Daniel and Isaiah were with the middle group and Joshua and Rebecca were with the older group. As we listened to the safety rules, I watched my newly minted 12yo beam when the instructor said that children 12 and up could go out on the lake in a kayak by themselves. It was sweet for this mama to see the delight that a new challenge brought to my son and a realization that perhaps we need to tackle new challenges more often! I think we did a good job of this when we ran a Keepers of the Faith club. (Roger, I think we need to get back to doing these things!)
For the first activity, the younger group has a bass fishing activity which was perfectly suited to the preschool age!
They learned to cast a fishing line. (Am I even saying that correctly?)
There wasn't a hook on the end so it was perfectly safe. They stood on an island (inside a hula hoop) and worked to catch fish.
It was harder than it looks!
The middle group went out on the paddle boats. (We saw them briefly when Eliana and I wandered to the deck in search of water.)
The older group was fishing on the boardwalk/bridge.
When we switched, it was time for the younger group to go out on the paddleboats. This is also more difficult than it looks! I remember doing this as a college student when I was travelling with my family and even then it was not so easy to keep going and going.
We saw the middle group up on the bridge fishing. It was hard to get a good look at them though. What was really fun - was seeing the older group out on the water with us! I almost never get to see this group and I loved it! They were out on kayaks and canoes. Did I mention how much fun it was for me? I loved the opportunity to get some good photos.
It was a little tricky getting Eliana to stay seated, but she did pretty well. What a fun ride with friends!
For the last section of our morning, the little ones were supposed to go fishing. The guide and moms talked more though and decided that fishing with hooks was maybe not the best idea for all of them - and Eliana and I passed. The older group went out on the paddleboats.
The middle group was then on the kayaks and canoes. Isaiah was one of the first ones out. He chose to go alone. I wondered if he could do it. I wondered how long he would last. And then I watched him succeed. And have fun. I saw him with new eyes.
As the group on the beach dwindled, I watched Daniel standing there with nobody waiting for him. He was inching back - small and quiet. Soon he was the last one. I have no doubt that he would have been included, but I knew he wouldn't step forward for himself. I ran down to the beach to see if I could go with him. Yes! We boarded a two person kayak and set off.
The lake was beautiful. The sun shone brightly as we cut through the water with our paddles. It was an easy motion and we soon settled into a rhythm. As we paddled around the lake, we looked at ducks, called out to friends and just had fun. (No pictures from me on this one as I left my camera behind.) My sweet friend Rebecca took some of us though.
As I first watched Isaiah and then observed Daniel in the boat with me, I was struck by the realization that this was something new that they were trying and succeeding in. They could do this! Sports and physical challenges have not been a huge part of their childhood for various reasons. I just wasn't sure what they could do. I was surprised. Pleased. Convicted. I was struck that I need to do more to challenge them. Not just in this arena either. We are working on changing other things at home to give them more responsibility. I think its good for all of us.
Perhaps this is one of the lessons I'm learning with Christopher being gone. Seeing my younger boys in a new light. Seeing that they are capable of more than I thought. This is a good thing. Thank you God for opening my eyes. Thank you for continually teaching me how to parent my children. Thank you for this lesson in the midst of a joyful time.
We all had so much fun today. We hope to go back again! I hope your fall days are sweet and filled with unexpected pleasures.