“Come on, daddy, keep up!” Laura hollered as she waved me in like a third base coach waving a baserunner home for the winning run.
I had taken the girls hiking at the state park so they could experience God’s glorious creation. It was a beautiful autumn day. The sun filtered through the trees setting the bright yellow leaves aglow. A light breeze danced through the treetops raining the golden ornaments down on us and littering the trail with perfect specimens. Squirrels chattered busily and birds serenaded us as we made our way along the meandering trail.
I ran to catch up to Laura and Abbie and held out my hands for them to take. I had this idea in my head that our little adventure would be a teaching opportunity. I wanted to give my young pupils a theological discourse on the grandeur of God’s creation, on His unbridled power and endless wisdom. I was sure their time in God’s classroom would open their eyes to the treasures that lie in His handiwork. Instead, they pulled away from me and bolted down the trail.
“Let’s play pirates, Abbie,” I heard Laura shout. “We can look for a hidden treasure.”
Pirates? My heart sank. That’s not why we came here.
I felt as if I had failed as a teacher. All my planning and preparing suddenly seemed so in vain. I had lost to a bunch of make-believe buccaneers seeking a make-believe treasure chest.
So I shoved my hands deep in my pockets, slumped my shoulders, bowed my head low, and shuffled my way along the trail wondering where I went wrong. The day was a flop; our adventure became just another meaningless playtime.
Suddenly Laura and Abbie popped out from behind a tree. Their little eyes were beaming with pride and a smile stretched from ear to ear. They were both holding something in their tiny hands, clenching their fists tightly.
“Look, daddy,” Laura said as she slowly opened her hands to reveal to me one acorn, a crumpled yellow leaf, and a fuzzy caterpillar curled like a corkscrew. “Treasures!”