Last week Team Leland went to Steamboat Springs for Nicolas to play in a baseball tournament and to have some family time camping. There were so many things that crossed my mind while either sitting on the warm metal bleachers or sitting comfortably in a camping chair by the fire looking beyond the sparks to the stars...
One thought was a worry that as a parent/dad I've not done enough for the boys. There are moments when they demonstrate such good traits and then there are other moments when they are at each other and you wonder what went wrong. With my oldest, Stephen, heading into his junior year in high school in a week, you realize how fleeting the time has been and will be in the next two years. I don't know if a parent ever feels totally at ease with the job they've done and whether they have prepared their kids enough for the world that awaits them.
Another thought that came to me was the sad state of some families where the parent lives vicariously through their kids. This was apparent at the tournament we were at this past week. I watched parents (mainly dads mind you) who lost their cool so easily and began tirades either from the stands or if they were coaching, on the field. In one case, an entire game was stopped while the umpires had a conference to figure out how to deal with the unruly parents. In one conversation with a long time umpire (who was an active duty military officer as well) shared that the umpires had a meeting before the tournament began to warn them of the extra difficulty they were going to see that week. It was a national tournament, he explained, and as such the grown ups thought there was an extra layer of anonymity that protected them and allowed them the freedom to speak out more than they normally would. I guess if you are in your hometown, you might hold your tongue. At this tournament, he also explained, they hear louder voices than normal, more criticism than normal and the use of language that was more shocking than normal. I honestly wonder how many of those kids puff up with pride when "dad" gets thrown out of game.
One other thought that came to me, was the importance of family time in this chaotic world. This summer our family did too much. We had four boys playing on six different teams. Though everything on the schedule was valuable, it squeezed out the simple "do nothing" or "do little" times when you just hang-out. Dr. Dobson would claim that the biggest problem facing families today is over-commitment. I learned a lesson, when the two things that my kids wanted to do while out camping was to (1) find some cheap inner tubes and just float down the Yampa River (which they did a couple different times); and (2) play a simple card game like Uno or Phase Ten or even go-fish (and it was an extreme game of go-fish). Smores were of course in order, as was riding bikes. There was no ultra organized hike to the top of a mountain but simple activity of being a kid and being a family.
One final thought was the incredible blessing of living in Colorado and having the splendor of His creation at our backdoor. The cool mountain air on a summer's evening; the crisp water of a mountain stream or river; and the beauty of a mountain range called The Rockies. His majesty spoke volumes each morning with the sunrise and each evening with the expanse of stars above.
Thanks for letting me ramble... some may have a photo album, others have a journal, I have the randomness of thought... :)