‘things I knew when I was young… some were true and some were wrong… one day I pray I’ll be more than my father’s son’  (the Lumineers)

why do we  think some things are so important for our children to do?  and it gives us such joy to see when they actually ‘get it’ and enjoy it…

the farmer camped in a coulee 8 miles north of our farm with his buddies when he was younger… twice… they quadded there, set up camp, stayed the night and came home… alive…

our memories are a tricky thing and memories of when we were young are often tainted by pictures or videos we have seen or someone else’s recollection of the events…  and we suddenly think that was our own memories of the events…

his memory is far better than mine and these two overnight camping trips to the coulee stood out… and somehow formed him into the man he is today… and caused a deep desire in him to show his three children the coulee and have a night there to remember being young…  with them…

we were 20 when we married… 22 when we had our first child…  we had no idea what we were doing…

so we copied our parents…  we basically combined the ideals (which were pretty similar) of our two sets of parents and tried to mimic them in raising our first boy…

at times it almost felt like an ‘out-of-body’ experience because we had no idea why we were doing the things we were doing… other than the fact that we were doing it exactly as our parents had done it with us…

time goes on… other children come along… another boy and then a girl…

and we get older and we experience more of life…

and the thought occurs to us…  ‘did our parents have any clue what they were doing when they were raising us?  or did they just copy their parents and hope for the best? were they as terrified as we are?’

I tend to like to control everyone in my life that I possibly can control… the farmer tends to allow people to be who they are because somewhere along the line he realized that people are going to be who they are no matter what you do anyways…

but this whole parenting thing is daunting…  super scary…not to be taken lightly… or maybe it should be…

here… all along… I’ve believed every word that has come out of my parents mouths to be gospel truth… truth be known it was a lot of gospel…  and never stopped to consider that they were young, influenced by the church and society they were growing up in and they were most likely scared of messing up and trying to do their best…

what if they didn’t have all the answers but were putting forth the best effort anyone could ask out of people in their 20’s raising small children?

what if they felt like me? and the farmer? completely inadequate to raise these children but knowing that you have to and want to and need to do your best…

what if you set up a tent, in a coulee, with no cell service and then your three children start talking about ‘life’ with you?

this is what the farmer was after…  he wanted the kids to have axes and chop down branches of trees… and build a fire and wonder about moss and ladybugs…

and talk…  talk about things that life has us too busy to talk about…

he wanted his daughter to hear a coyote bark at 2 am and sit straight up and then snuggle in close to him…

there are moments where you feel like a good parent… like you are having a day and doing it right and giving good advice…

and then there are days that you feel like a hypocrite…  like your 14 year old is seeing right through your charade and he knows that you have no idea what you are talking about and you feel like he might possibly be more wise than you… but you still have to raise him…

and make rules for him… and guide him…

the farmer finds it easier to teach life lessons with backpacks and tents bought on Amazon packed with waterproof matches and flint…

somewhere in life… when you create the time to be alone in nature… it will teach you…

and you will discover what your parents must have discovered…  that traditions are good..  and God is good… and we do our best… as does everyone else out there…

but the only thing that we can guarantee our kids is that we love them and we are proud of them and we are here for them…  no matter where life takes them…  they can always come home and go camping in a coulee and it will all be ok…

to my parents… the farmer’s parents… and all the parents all over the world…

thank you for trying… for deciding what you believed in and then teaching it to your children…  and being courageous enough to live it out in your own life…

and now we will do the same… as frightened as we are about really messing up our child’s future and costing them a lot of money in therapy someday…  we have to attempt to know what we believe in (as of now) and teach them, guide them, cheer them on and discipline them when we think necessary…

knowing that our parents were young once…  without all the answers… doing the same thing we are doing now…

and we are forever grateful for it…