(I’ve labeled this “Part 1” because I know I’ll blog more on this topic.)
We went camping with some friends this past weekend. Refraining from names, these friends are a couple who have each been divorced from their previous spouse, have a son from their first marriage, and were blessed to find one another six months ago.
In short, they’re an adorable couple who are completely compatible.
Although he had been camping before with his son, she and her son have never been camping. She loves to try things that are new to her — especially since her ex was a bump on the log that did nothing — so he bought a tent and made arrangements to co-camp with us at an amazing central-Florida park that has a wonderful swimming hole.
Overall, the experience was amazing for everyone. As first trips tend to go, a few things went wrong for them, but it was nothing we couldn’t take care of as a group…and with a few laughs.
She was absolutely fascinated in all of the different RVs in the park…and by our little 29-ft travel trailer, despite that it dwarfed next to the class A with a super slide situated two lots away from ours. She noted rigs set up on sites that clearly looked like “people live here” and how nice everyone we came upon was.
Then she noticed something we RVers with kids tend to take for granted: kids can be kids!
Right now we live in an S&B in a residential — not gated — neighborhood. Although it’s generally a quiet suburb, crazy people still drive like mad down the roads. There are two bus stops on our street — one directly across from our house — so school busses roar down the road multiple times daily. Let’s not forget the banging of the dump trucks at least once a week too.
Noisiness and speed demons aside, it’s challenging living in any neighborhood this day and age.
Once upon a time, parents could allow their kids to play outside and even ride their bikes around the neighborhood. Moms and dads were vigilant about teaching their kids about stranger danger and looking both ways at least twice before crossing any street, but otherwise kids could be kids.
Nowadays we have to worry more about people that have nothing better to do with their time but try to police parents and raise everybody’s children. In all seriousness, moms still have to worry about their kids playing outside, but now it’s because others will call law enforcement or Child Protective Services and claim the kids that are playing outside are endangered and the parents are negligent. Time and again, tearful children sit hopelessly aside as their mom — or sometimes dad — is handcuffed and loaded into the back of a police cruiser.
All because the kids were being kids.
Not that they were doing anything wrong or in any danger.
Shame on the parents for letting their kids outside, to ride bikes down the street or even just play in their own front — or back — yard.
And don’t even get me started about all the hell raised when kids are at a playground sans parent.
However, it’s different when you’re camping.
And our friends picked up on that after just a couple of hours.
Her son is six, his is twelve. Our sons are five and seven. The three youngest were up and down the road of the loop that our site was located on, riding scooters, and all four of them spent time running around, throwing a ball, collecting firewood, and taking turns on our two pogo sticks. Oh, and we mustn’t forget the tree on our site that the boys got a kick out of climbing again and again.
She was captivated by how she could just let her son run off and play…and not worry about him at all. The four of us could work on meals, hang towels to dry, stoke the fire, and just chat while the boys just did their thing.
Nobody drives around like lunatics, other kids run around and play, there was joyful noise and loud music all around…and everybody accepted and welcomed it.
It’s not like there wasn’t anybody around to make sure rules were being followed and nobody was getting out of hand. It is a campground, so there are rules to keep people safe and things orderly, and there are employees driving around in little sedans and golf carts to keep an eye on things and help out if necessary.
But…kids can be kids!
People constantly complain about kids on smart phones, sitting in the house in front of the TV or game system, or just doing nothing in general, especially if it’s not deemed educational or chore related. However, parents are then rediculed for allowing their kids outside, down the streets or around the neighborhood on their bikes, or at the playground.
In other words, we’re damned if we do and damned if we don’t.
When we’re camping, technology always takes a backseat to getting outdoors…and being kids.
Therefore, another reason for RVing — whether you’re full-time or part-time — is the ability for your kids to be kids and enjoy their youth and childhood.
…The way our generation and generations before us did.