Get those kids outdoors!
It's hard to beat November and December for being on the river and in the woods. Hunting seasons are in full gear and if you've got the time to go, there's plenty of opportunity available. I know the excuses, as I've been there. For goodness sakes, there's barely enough time to hug your wife and pat the kids on the head, let alone do something outdoors. But, let me tell you a fact. It's that outdoor trip that will be remembered by your kids! True, you've got to put food on the table and there is always a bathroom that needs a new faucet. All I can say is, think back about your own childhood. What is it that you remember most? Chances are, hunting or fishing with a mentor will be on your short list! My grandpa and grandma were two of the most important people in my life. Both were born near 1900 and they spent most of their adulthood during the "great depression", raised two children and when they passed on to their reward, neither had enough assets to have bought a good used vehicle in today's economy. But, in the big picture of things, I'm not sure that I know a person today that considers themselves half as rich as my grandparents did in their time! Why? Well, you would have had to been there! For one, I was the oldest grandchild and I can tell you more stories then you've got time to read about my "grandpa and grandma"! If there has ever been two happier adults, I've not met them. If there were two people that felt they had more to love, more to do, more to be grateful for with there lot in life, I've not met them. My point is simple: when I was with grandpa and grandma, something important was going on and I was a part of it! Grandpa had an old steel fishing rod, a Pflueger reel and one "fishing plug" that I could use. It was all mine when at his home! Grandma could set on the front porch, call up a bobwhite quail and shoot it's head off with a 22 rifle on most any June morning. Not least, she had a "rabbit trap" set in the garden during the winter at all times. We had fish, quail or rabbit for supper often. If they went to town for anything, it was not more then once a month. If they had something, it was because they grew it or made it. Otherwise, they did without. Their lessons about life did not escape me. What lessons do you want for your children or for your grand children? Getting them outdoors will teach them more then you might suspect and it doesn't really matter when or where. In today's world, a child must have a "hunter's education" in order to hunt. But, these courses are available in all communities and it's a chance for you to teach and for your child to learn. There are canoe rentals and "outfitters" galore on most of our local streams. Make a float trip and see an eagle! Tromp through a conservation area and jump a rabbit or still hunt a woodlot for a fox squirrel. Recently I took my grand daughters on a short "float trip". They wanted to go fishing with grandpa and so we went. We paddled upstream through one hole, got out on the bank and caught crawdads and they played in the sand and skipped rocks. Not a fish was caught; but they had been with grandpa on a float trip. They are still talking about it. More times then not, as my sons were growing up, I had them in the canoe with me and both love to fish today. As an adult, you are more apt to fish and hunt then to play football or baseball. Those those reasons and others, that's where we spent our free time, when we had it. In many ways our world is not getting better. When I was growing up there were opportunities in every direction. Not so today. And, I can only imagine the things that our teenagers have to deal with today. Drugs are common place. Cheating, stealing and poor examples from adults and peers are rampant. The home is often the only safe sanctuary today and sometimes, not even there. So, if you are a parent or a grand parent I would suggest taking initiative. Sign them up for hunter's education, catch grasshoppers, dig some worms and get them to a pond bank somewhere to watch a bobber disappear. Clean some fish, or a mess of squirrels and have a cook-out on a gravel bar with a tent to sleep in for the night. You might be able to think of something better to do with what time you have with your kids; but, I doubt it.