Every year I hike part of the Appalachian Trail with my brother. It is one of my favorite events of the year. First, it is time spent with one of my best friends. Second, it is enjoyable to forget about comfort for two days and walk into the woods with only the supplies we can carry. It’s not army survival training by any stretch but it’s not a picnic either. We never bring a picnic basket but we always bring a Swiss Army Knife. The tools that you pack on any adventure say a lot about what you are expecting, what you can handle and whether or not you’ll survive.
One of my greatest concerns is the youth of today are under-prepared to deal with the challenges they will face. I fear that in many respects kids today are walking into the woods with picnic baskets. They are anticipating that everything will continue to be easy. The tests of life will be multiple choice. If they need it, they’ll get extra time to complete their work. Mommy or daddy will always be available to fix their problems. Unfortunately this picnic basket life that they are anticipating doesn’t exist. What happens when they find out that life is not always a picnic?
My hope is that we never get to that point. I want the young people that I have contact with to leave the basket at home and take the Swiss Army Knife. Start equipping themselves with any and every tool that they can to survive effectively in the woods of life.
The reason that I use the Swiss Army Knife in this metaphor is its adaptability to many situations. The world is changing at an increasingly rapid pace. Yet many young people seem to have trouble keeping up with the status quo. The expectation that tomorrow will be like yesterday is foolish. It will leave us at least two steps behind where we need to be.
Whether you realize it or not, you’re in the woods. Did you pack well? If not, maybe now you should look around for supplies.