“Memorial Stones” & Marshmallows

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Camping trips are great family vacations because they provide many opportunities for parents, especially dads, to teach their children. Dads can teach their kids how to build a fire, put a worm on a hook, and pitch a tent. But dads can also build for them “memorial stones” as a testimony to what the Lord has done in their own lives.

Sharing life experiences can be memorial stones for your children. They can see Christ through your past successes and failures.

Over the years, my wife and I spent many family vacations sitting around campfires, roasting marshmallows, and talking with our children. During these times I’d share some of my life experiences, not glorifying the mistakes I’d made, but acknowledging them and sharing the Lord’s grace through them. I did this to build “memorial stones,” just as the Israelites were commanded to do after they had crossed the Jordan River on dry ground (Joshua 4).

The Lord commanded the Israelites to set up twelve stones that had come from the dry ground of the Jordan River. These stones were to be a memorial to future generations of what the Lord had done for them as they entered the Promised Land.

What an example for parents to follow! But recounting to my children the mistakes that I had made in my own life was difficult.

However, I recently asked my 22-year-old son for the one thing he learned from me during his time at home, and his response encouraged me.

He said, “Dad, I always remember that I don’t have to experience something personally to learn from it. You and Mom have always been open about what you’ve done and what Christ has done. I don’t need to make the mistakes that you did to learn from them.”

Sharing my life experiences was a memorial stone to my son. He saw Christ in my life through my past successes and my failures.

Fathers, whether you go camping or not, take your summer vacation to share with your children some of your life experiences and tell them how the Lord has worked in your life. Be open, be honest, be biblical.

Answers Magazine

July – September 2007


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