Like many of you, I have great memories of the times I spent as a child in the great outdoors with my family. Hunting, fishing, camping, going to the range, riding dirt bikes, water skiing, etc.. All of these activities were loved by our father and he worked hard to make sure we got to experience the same things he loved growing up. As society gets more and more away from the outdoors and kids are more restricted due to the fears we have as parents of the dangers from the predators that abound our children spend more time indoors and far less time outdoors being kids.
It pains me that I don’t feel I can let my kids go off on their bikes all day exploring like we did as kids. I know from having a lot of conversations with other adults I am not alone. When we were kids we would jump on our bikes and be gone all day long. We lived in a small town and would take a .22 and a shotgun and go goof off in the country. We weren’t doing any harm to anyone and the landowners didn’t care. We rode dirt bikes, explored and had a great time. We would go fishing in tanks or at the beach. At 14 years of age we would load up a boat and go camping for days on islands in the bays around Corpus Christi and Rockport, TX. I really doubt that still happens, you probably need a special permit and would probably be all over the media if you let your kids out by themselves like that with, God forbid, a .22 and a fishing rod!!! It drives me absolutely nuts that even at a cub scout camping trip at a lake, that the boys are not allowed to bring fishing rods or be near the water!! Having kids out in the outdoors, exposed to the elements and yes, to some danger is good for them. It teaches them. They are like sponges that soak up everything. They learn to eat what we have available, to deal with being a little cold, or wet, or hot. To adapt, overcome and deal with things. To have patience.
Kids that grown up hunting and fishing learn about wildlife conservation. They get it, they understand where meat comes from and how to obtain it. They learn how to responsibly and safely deal with firearms. I strongly believe that a child that learns from his parents about guns is far less likely to be safer (for themselves and others) than those that don’t. Especially boys! My kids KNOW what a gun can do. It can make holes in things, and make things dead. They know to not get in front of one (and they know which end the bullet comes out of) and they know to never point a gun at someone. They know to leave them alone unless dad puts it in their hands with explicit instructions.
Being out with your kids gives you time to talk without all the modern distractions like the TV, computer, video games, etc.. That time spent in close proximity, like sitting in a deer blind for an hour before sunrise and whispering to each other is priceless. You get really know each other. It is the most rewarding thing and the best investment into your child’s future you can make.
Please continue to do your part and take your kids out. Do more, invite some friends and their kids out shooting, hunting fishing, riding a bike, etc..
Expose them to it and teach them.
Keep the traditions alive and don’t let the nanny state people and politicians win.