Make Today Count
August 18, 2011
By Chap. (Capt.) Clark Sneed
Army Chaplain Arlington National Cemetery
Last night I ran blindly across a dark field of waist-high grass, chased by a startled, angry cow. The soupy air smelled of dirt, stagnant ponds, sweat and cow doo.
I found the truck and drove across the farm. Later, in the light of my Uncle Tom's cabin, I counted 37 ticks, drunk with blood and bug spray. My sons, 12 and 11, sat laughing and terrified at the same time from this, their first-ever attempt at frog gigging. Best camping trip ever.
I started not to take this trip. I love to work. Money is tight. But sometimes the vacation isn't about what I need, but what the Family needs. So we drove to the Family farm in Tennessee and spent the week making memories while building dams in the creek, shooting, fishing and cooking hot dogs over the fire.
Sure, there were ticks and bugs and mice everywhere; we lived with mad cows and smothering heat. But each of our three children had uninterrupted time with Family, nightly devotions and the pure freedom of exploring woods, hills and streams. We answered hundreds of honest questions that only a child could think of, and even taught our nine-year-old to drive the truck.
The scriptures tell us to train up a child in the way he (or she) should go, and when they are old, they will not depart from that teaching. Train early, and train often. There was a time when it was popular to talk of "quality time" with children. But quality is the fruit of quantity.
Are you spending quantity time with those you love? As a leader, do you enable and encourage those under you to spend time with the Families? Time off can be spent avoiding loved ones, or investing in them. You are a hero to someone, so think carefully about how you spend those hours.
We're driving back home now. The kids are in the back seat watching the Tennessee hills roll by. The adventure is complete. My legs itch, I have dark bags under my eyes, and there are mysterious, cow-scented green spots on my jeans. We also have a truckload of fun memories, life-lessons and rich relationships that will last a lifetime.