“Dad, will you hold my hand? Will you help me not fall?” Mitch said with a sweet, soft voice. I reached out to hold his hand as Mitch leaned downward and reached into the crystal clear waters that flowed from a natural hot spring. “It’s like a bath! Do you think I could swim in it?” Mitch was fascinated that nature could produce such warm water. Until that moment, he only knew the icy streams that came from snowmelt. 

We were at a fathers & son’s campout and I was so excited to hang out with my boys. We played Frisbee on the grass and cooked our famous tinfoil dinners and were the envy of every camper who could smell the magical meal cooking slowly in the glowing embers. Mitch loved that special recipe. 

Later that evening we would find ourselves huddled in our family tent listening to a torrential downpour, exhilarated by the relentless crash of thunder that exploded right above our heads. Mitch snuggled into me with his sleeping bag as I wrapped my arm around him and held him tight. Little Wyatt sat on my other side, lovingly wrapped by my other arm. Ethan bravely sat with a smile and listened to the rain pound the walls of our tent, ready to pack up on a moments notice were we to flood.

We made it through the night dry and un-drenched. I am grateful for those moments with my family. If I have a regret in life it is that I didn’t have enough of them. I did my best, but I wish I would have done more. 

I often think back on this moment when Mitch asked for help to do something other children could have done with ease. His muscles were weak and his balance always precarious. The slightest bump from someone could send him crashing to the ground. Often, Mitchie’s plea was, “Help me not fall.” Always, when he asked for help, I was reminded of things I took for granted. 

Those words, “help me not fall” will echo in my mind forever. As his father, I didn’t want Mitch to fall and hurt himself … yet at the same time I didn’t want to rob my son the opportunity to do things on his own. Therein lies the delicate parental balance … to help enough to enable growth but not enough to rob it. 

When I think about it, it doesn’t take much to recognize my Father is doing the same thing with me, and all of us. His hand is often out of view and we go about our lives unaware of His true goodness. 

Just tonight something significant happened to me – a heavenly reminder that He is there … and that He cares. 

Every time I kneel and ask my Father to “help me not fall” I get the distinct impression that He is not only there … but that He has always been there – helping me just enough to enable growth, but never enough to rob it.

At least on some level, being a Father myself, I think I understand now. And I wouldn’t have it any other way.