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Africa or Bust!

Alan Smyth —  January 13, 2014 — Leave a comment

Here we are at week #3 since my 12/30 New Year’s Resolution post. In that post I spoke about the three things that young women have said impacted them greatly. The last two weeks I have written  about loving your wife and living out your faith. This week I would like to further share about the #3 item in the “BIG THREE” of impacting your daughter, taking her on trips. I say “further,” because I have already shared thoughts on this topic in this blog. For some background, you can go to our archives and look for blogs entitled “Father Daughter Getaway” and “New York City.” Something I believe in greatly is taking your daughter on trips of all sizes and types as she grows up. No better way to communicate to her how valuable she is to you than getting away together.

My friend Stu has three daughters. He has done a masterful job at intentionally taking his daughters on meaningful trips. When they each turned 13, they went anywhere in the USA his daughters wanted to go. Then, when they turned 18, he took them to Africa! Here is what Stu says about this trip:

“High school senior year, we took a dad/daughter trip to Africa. I pulled them out of school and traveled to Africa for a month. Not “hotel Africa,” but “dirt floor Africa.” I pulled them out of school because in their senior year, they are really done anyway. I had to fight with the administration a bit, but they couldn’t disagree that the experience was worth more than the school they missed. The time was priceless!  Thirty days alone with my daughter; seeing the needy of the world. We also did a bit of fun stuff on the way, but 80% was visiting the poor, staying with people doing remarkable work, and giving our lives to the ”least of these.”


These times were amazing because we talked about the things we saw, as well as life in general. My daughters were about to leave for college, and I had this unbelievable time to connect with each of them for a chunk of time. We traveled as friends, not father and daughter, because after all, they were 18!

It’s easy for dads to say, “Oh I couldn’t do that,” “I don’t get that much vacation,” “That’s too much money,” or “My daughter can’t miss school.” To all those things I say, “BS.” You are men, and you do whatever you want most of the time. Take out a loan. Take a leave from your job. I’d take a second mortgage on the house, for the experience these trips have given to us as dad and daughter.”

From Alan-If this thinking is new to you, don’t be intimidated with Africa. Start with a day trip to a water park or sports game. Then progress to an overnight somewhere close. Start small and finish big! Trust me, it’s well worth it!

Alan Smyth

Stu’s story along with many other great dad’s stories appear in chapter 7 in the Father / Daughter book, Prized Possession.


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