The hiking trails at Platte River State Park are a jumble of twists and turns, ups and downs, forks and choices. Each junction—each meandering tendril—offers a different destination.
I know the waterfall is down this path, I recall thinking on a recent night hike with my young grandsons, Easton (6), and Barrett (4). The haunted tepee (haunted because I made it so in a campfire tale over s’mores the evening before) is up that trail. And the choo-choo trains that rumble past the edge of the forest what seem a million times a day are best viewed if we instead take that other branch of the trail over there.
The boys relied on Grandpa to know which direction to go, and a full moon lit the way for us in making navigation easy that night.
But the rest of life’s decisions won’t be so easy.
Easton and Barrett will have many choices to make in selecting the paths that will be their life journeys. My hope is that they will always make wise decisions at every junction, but I know that this is wishful thinking.
Along the way I hope that they learn humility, fairness, love, and compassion. I hope they fight for what they believe in. I hope they contribute to their community. I hope they learn how to make a slingshot. I hope they develop an appreciation of the arts and that which unites all of mankind. I hope they hate their first taste of alcohol. I hope they come to learn that peanut butter and salsa sandwiches are delicious. I hope that one day they will tell me about their favorite author. I hope they visit me when I am a broken-down pile of musty old bones. I hope they remember me when I am gone.
I hope they are strong, safe, healthy, and happy—and have families of their own someday that are the same.
I hope they are curious. I hope they find passion. I hope they reach. Reach for something. Anything.
Most of all, I hope they become exactly who they want to be and are comfortable in their own skin.
Like the trails at Platter River State Park, life for them will be a jumble of twists and turns, ups and downs. The footing will sometimes be treacherous and slippery, but I hope they always have a full moon to guide their way.