|Art by Russ Cox|
Fathers and sons will always share a very unique bond, often sharing a similar interest in sports, fast cars, and action movies. New fathers are known to begin planning from the day of their son’s birth for the many types of excursions that will be shared together in the years that lie ahead. Teaching their sons to play baseball, taking their sons on nature hikes and fishing trips, or perhaps going along with their sons to buy his very first car. One of the most common forms of male bonding activities is that very first camping trip shared only between father and son.
The attraction to camping usually begins at a very young age, where little boys use blankets and sheets to build fortresses in the living room, draped over chairs and tables to create their own secret place that is hidden from the view of grown-ups. The joy of watching your little ones being creative and constructing interesting dwellings that only a child’s mind can imagine can be infectious and awe-inspiring. It is only natural for the father to watch their little boys playing and to imagine when the day will come that they can take their son on an outdoor excursion, away from the other members of the family, just the two of them.
As early as the age of 8 or 10, the father or the son has an idea. How much fun would it be to take those blankets and chairs out to the backyard, build their own tent, and live outdoors like real men do, even if just for one night? If they get really creative, dad might provide one of his big tarps from the garage, draping it over a clothesline and securing it on either side to create a massive campsite fit for two. They immediately get to work, building the perfect campsite together. Mom is inside, packing a huge basket of sandwiches, snacks, and sodas for the big night that lies ahead.
The tent is built. The food is packed. And now it is time for Junior to go upstairs and get his sleeping bag to head off into the backyard wilderness. Dad also makes sure to pack some of the fun time extras, like a flashlight, pocket knife, and deck of playing cards. The goal is always to enjoy each other’s company, to have fun, and to instill a sense of adventure into the life of a young boy.
The flashlight can serve a couple of different purposes. It might provide a little extra security when little boys hear strange rustlings and noises that so often accompany a night in the darkness of the outdoors. But flashlights also make great visual effects for the telling of terrifying tales and sharing of creepy ghost stories.
But this usually comes after the main course of building a fire, roasting hot dogs, and eating s’mores for dessert. This is where dad teaches his son how to safely build a fire, something that little boys should learn how to do. The hot dogs and s'mores are simply a reward for a job well done. After their man-made dinner, dad takes out his pocket knife, grabbing a massive tree branch as well. This is when the young “man-in-training” begins to learn how to safely whittle wood, creating “weapons of warfare” like pointy arrow-headed sticks and long, sharp spears.
As the night goes on, the boy begins to tire, his small, bright eyes fighting to stay open. He doesn’t want to miss a single minute of this night in the wilderness with dad. Within a few minutes, the son is asleep lying next to his father in the tent made of blankets and snuggled under his favorite comforter he brought from his bed. Even though this may have been a great deal of fun for the little boy, this is the moment that dad will remember for the rest of his life.
At Just Boys Bedding, we understand how important these special times are for boys. Times like these will last a lifetime for both a boy and his father.
Special thanks to MR of Oscar the Dog for this blog post