Dads need to know how they can win, and I firmly believe if you can be consistent in these three areas, you will absolutely win the fatherhood game. You’ll have bad days, your kids will have bad days, there will probably still be an unfortunate goth phase around 14…but ultimately your kids will have that stable foundation only a dad can offer that will help them turn into the functional adults we all hope and pray they will become (you know, so they can finally move out of your house). Okay, enough jibber-jabber…let’s go!
My middle child (the 6-year-old) has been all about hunting for years. He is constantly asking when he can go, if he can come with me, when we’ll go scouting…the kid just wants to be in the outdoors. Now, as a squirrelly boy who can’t sit still through a single meal, he’s not exactly ready to come out on a hunt just yet. But, a few weeks ago the whole family headed up to the woods for some much-needed R&R, and I made a plan to take Gibson out with me to hang a couple game cameras one morning. We both had a terrific time out there together, and here are the 4 things I believe I did right to make this a success…
I was afraid this day would come. Thinking back on my 10 year-old self, I would have LOVED the chance for someone to take me hunting. I was an outdoors kid in a non-outdoors family, and ever since my little ones were babies, I was determined that they were going to have the wild, outdoors childhood I wished I could have had. But, fearing the answer, I asked him: “buddy, do you even like hunting? It’s okay, just tell me the truth.” Even though I knew it was coming, it still stung like a hot knife in my back: “No, dad…I hate hunting! It’s so boring! We have to walk a million miles carrying heavy stuff, and we usually don’t even see anything. I hate it!” The ball’s in your court, Dad…what do you do with that one?
As a gun-owning father, I always wanted my kids to have a healthy respect for firearms, and to have the knowledge to remain safe around them. I didn’t want them to have outright fear of the inanimate object itself, but I also wanted them to be fully aware of their destructive potential. But, how to do that effectively????