Father-Son Retreat

Since ancient times, age thirteen marked a boy’s transition from child into adult.  According to the Talmud, when Jewish boys reach 13, they become responsible for their actions and
become a Bar Mitzvah.  Prior to a boy reaching Bar Mitzvah, his parents hold the responsibility for the child’s actions.  After this age, children bear their own responsibility for Jewish ritual law, tradition and ethics; he is able to participate in all areas of Jewish community life.

When our eldest girl neared the age of 12, we began to think about how we could mark this transition.  As we thought about how we might, our friends shared about  special trip they were planning with their 12-year-old son.  Each of their children get to pick any location in the continental United States for a two-to-three day getaway.  This time is spent having fun and talking about the years ahead.

Our eldest son chose the Creation Museum.  This 70,000 square foot museum brings the pages of the Bible to life,Eden. Children play and dinosaurs roam near Eden’s Rivers. The serpent coils cunningly in the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil. Majestic murals, great masterpieces brimming with pulsating colors and details, provide a backdrop for many of the settings.  It is a terrific imagining of how ancient life might have been.  It is completely true to the biblical narrative.

We drove to Petersburg, Kentucky.  Stopped along the way at Joyce Kilmer memorial forest.  We stayed in Lawrenceburg, Indiana.  We visited the museum, travelled around the area, got to see a nuclear power plant up close.  Ate too many cheeseburgers, and took advantage of the hotel’s free breakfasts.

Along the way, we went through the Passport to Purity weekend retreat study.  Dennis and Barbara Rainey have taken what can be an awkward subject and placed it in a biblical perspective.  This study fit perfectly with the Creation Museum visit.  The museum proclaiming the truth of God’s Word from the very first verse, and the discussions of moral  reponsibility coming directly out of the same Word.

This is a great way to spend time with your pre-teen.  Have them pick the destination, and let the fun–and learning–begin.

Passport to Purity is available here where you can also listen to a sample audio excerpt: Christian Book Distributors

My wife’s description of a mother/daughter weekend plus links to our friends’ parent/child weekend retreats: You Must Do This

Next Week’s Author:  Susan Ottmer



Steve keeps busy with five children and a job in information security. He also has a second job as principal of the Hodgepodge homeschool.
Steve Hodges
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  1. Passionate Purposeful Parenting says:

    I love this idea! I had only briefly heard something similiar before. It was both helpful and inspirational hearing about your retreat with your son. Thank you so much for sharing your experience with us! I have also heard wonderful things about Passport to Purity and hope to go through it with my daughter (and my husband with my son).