Several years ago I participated in a Wood Badge course for Boy Scout Leaders. Most of the class work was done on weekend camping trips over about a six month period. Along with instruction in the details of leading a troop the Boy Scout way, and being taught how young boys learn best, the camping setting allowed us to practice outdoor skills we could pass along.
I remember one of the first activities was related to setting up camp. The instructor led us on a short hike into the woods, stopped and gathered us around him, and asked “What’s the first thing you do in setting up camp?”
After a moment of the entire group’s silence, my reply was “You look around.”
Everybody burst into laughter and the instructor was laughing loudest. He repeated my statement, gave the old “what a stupid thing to say” chuckle and head shake, and moved on into his spiel. The answer he had wanted, and then gave us was “set up a tent or shelter.”
He continued “Make sure you pick a good spot – don’t set up where you might get a flash flood in mountainous terrain or end up in a puddle of water here in flatland south Georgia. Is there space for a fire? Check for ant beds on the ground and rotten limbs hanging over the area. etc., etc.”
After my initial aggravation at being laughed at, I did get a kick out of listening to him, in effect, tell us the first thing to do: “you look around.” Some of the others may have also picked up on that, but the instructor never seemed to make the connection.
All of us may remember times when we were right, and were either laughed at, or not believed. As you see, that one is readily available in my memory. But, I hope I remember the incident more from the lesson to be learned. When setting up camp, or in any task, or plan, it’s best to look around first.
Sometimes we think we have the answer all figured out – Praying, “Lord, please bless this thing I want to do.” before the “looking around” prayer that should come first. “Lord, please guide me in what I should do next.”
“Show me thy ways, O Lord; teach me thy paths. Lead me in thy truth, and teach me: for thou art the God of my salvation; on thee do I wait all the day.” Psalms 25:4-5