When Dad suggested we go tubing, I was excited. I had never gone floating down a river on an inner tube, and it sounded like fun. Dad said that it would be fun but that we also needed to be careful and watch out for logs and other hidden dangers. He said that the river is a lot like life—if we follow the wrong path, even unknowingly, we are in danger of getting hurt. We all promised to be careful and to watch out for each other.
After we had inflated our inner tubes, Mom dropped us off at the river. The water was muddy and moving fast. Dad told me to sit back in the tube with my legs and arms hanging out. When I did, I gave a little screech, both because the water was cold and because I started floating away from my family. My big sister soon caught up with me and reached out to hold my hand. Soon we were floating down the river together beneath the big trees that grew along the banks.
After about an hour, my sister and I decided to share one inner tube, and we hand-paddled over to very shallow water so we could do it safely. We had fun grabbing the vines that hung into the water, watching the birds, and reaching up to pick leaves from low tree branches. The water didn’t seem very deep, and sometimes my sister, who is very tall, would slide off the tube and push us around sandbars so that we wouldn’t get stuck.
We were trying to avoid two sandbars when she discovered that she couldn’t reach the bottom. Suddenly we were both caught up by a swift current and pushed into some fallen branches. The inner tube flipped over. I fell into the river. Thanks to my life jacket, I stayed afloat, but I couldn’t get out of the strong current. I was being scratched by the branches as I struggled and called out for help. My sister tried to reach me, but she was also caught in the current. She was hanging onto a big branch so that she wouldn’t get pushed under the water.
Dad immediately saw us and came to our rescue. He had to move carefully because he could barely touch bottom and didn’t want to get caught in the current like we were. He climbed over some branches and reached out for me. As soon as he was close enough, I grabbed onto his neck, and he held me tight. Then he put me on the inner tube and pushed me toward my brother. My brother grabbed the inner tube and pulled me to safety. Then Dad helped my sister. Finally we were all safe on a sandbar.
After a brief rest, we continued to float down the river. This time I was sitting in Dad’s lap. I was still a little scared, but after a while, I closed my eyes and relaxed. When I opened my eyes, I saw some hawks. Then I saw Mom waving from a bridge, and I knew that we had come to the end of our journey. I was very grateful that we had arrived safely.
That night Mom asked me what I had learned from my experience. I told her that even though I’d done what Dad had told us to do, I still had needed help. I said that whenever I need help, I’ll think of the river and remember that my family will always be there to help me.
Mom said that those were good things to remember. She also said that Heavenly Father is watching out for me and that I should remember to thank Him for that when I prayed. I did. I know that Heavenly Father watched out for me on the river. And I know that He watches out for me every day and wants to protect me from life’s hidden dangers.