A highlight of my week is meeting with my Band of Fathers core group. We are a group of dads who desire to grow in our relationship with our Heavenly Father and our sons through shared study, shared mission, and shared adventure. While we have great study time together, we want to go beyond merely studying.
In a day when too many people spend too much time indoors, protected from the wind and the rain, we believe it’s important to get outdoors — and to take our boys along. Whether that means serving others in need by spreading mulch, swinging a hammer, or hiking or biking down a trail, it’s all good.
We also believe that if we work our muscles, then God will build our hearts and strengthen our bonds with one another. He has been doing just that. We work our muscles by participating in shared missions initiatives and shared outdoor adventures.
A couple of years ago I wrote about Nature Deficit Disorder, a condition that afflicts those who spend too much time indoors. It’s much easier to watch Bear Grylls have adventures than to have adventures of our own. For us, however, any outdoor adventure we can have, no matter how modest, trumps watching Bear Grylls.
Speaking of staying indoors — the Tuareg people of Niger are a nomadic group who traverse the sands of the Sahara. These nomads value their freedom of movement so much that they fear houses. Why? Because they believe houses are the graves of the living. They have a point!
In our current study of “The Book of Man” by William J. Bennett, my guys and I came across an excellent poem entitled “Do You Fear the Wind?” by American poet and writer Hamlin Garland (1860-1940). This little poem speaks for itself.
Do you fear the force of the wind,
The slash of the rain?
Go face them and fight them,
Be savage again.
Go hungry and cold like the wolf,
Go wade like the crane.
The palm of your hands will thicken,
The skin of your forehead tan —
You’ll be rugged and swarthy and weary
But — you’ll walk like a man.
John Eldridge captured the essence of this message in his excellent book, “Wild at Heart.” There is indeed something in us that longs for adventure. And the context for adventure is outside in “the force of the wind” and “the slash of the rain.”