A Family Hunting Adventure...
As parents our goal is to raise empowered children. Children who grow up knowing that anything is possible if they are willing to put in the hard work and effort required of success. We also want them to grow up with equal opportunities to learn about life and become well rounded individuals.
With that in mind, I offered up a hunting trip to my baby girl (now six) to join "the boys" in South/West Texas. I was 97% certain she'd opt to stay home and go shopping with Mom.
I was wrong.
“Of course I want to go with you," she exclaimed, "but Mom might get lonely."
After reassurance from mom that she would indeed NOT be lonely with the house all to herself, Peyton decided that hunting with her dad and brother was just what she needed before returning to school from Christmas break. We loaded up enough guns, ammo, snacks, sleeping accoutrements, and sodas for at least a week. We then headed South to pick up Uncle Merlin. After an assortment of fuel, lunch, bathroom, and provisioning stops, we finally made it to the deer lease in record seven hour time. Alone, the trip can be made in just three and a half hours.
Getting there is all part of the fun, though.
It should go without saying that sitting quietly in a frosty cold deer blind with a six and eight year old brother and sister is an impossible task. Ditto for waking said pair at 5:00 am on a thirty degree morning. A case can be made that modern technology, perhaps an iPad or smartphone, might facilitate the patience needed for a deer stand. I suppose this is true, but crotchety old Dr. Dad refuses to take a digital babysitter into the outdoors. When they're ready to sit, we'll sit. Until then, we'll hunt in other ways.
As an aside, I have no doubt that any mom could wake, feed, and bundle up two kids before sunrise. Most could do it while getting themselves ready and posting Facebook statuses along the way. Us dads...not so much.
With that in mind, we spent the weekend feeding roads and having fun. We shot cactuses and cans and targets galore. We ate and drank sweets and chips and hot dogs. Nothing was green or gluten free. We fried dove and quail and made fires and hunted rabbits and snuck up on a fox. Somehow we even got close to Parker killing his first turkey or deer, but alas, they wouldn't stop long enough for that perfect shot. Our only real incident came when a wounded quail was retrieved and had to be put down. There were some tears over the circle of life. Later we all sampled said game bird with dinner, so the emotion was short lived. Kids will eat just about anything dipped in ranch dressing.
After two hard days of hunting, we packed up and headed home. While Dad did all the unloading, both kids relayed to Mom the good, the bad, and the ugly. Plus, all of Dad’s mistakes and discretions with bathing and bedtimes.
When I finally tucked Peyton into bed that night, I just had to know, "Sweetie, what was your favorite part about our hunting trip?"
Without hesitation she replied, "I just had fun being with y'all, Dad."
And that's why we take kids hunting.
Until next week, keep smiling.
-Please send questions and comments to Drs. Parrish at www.ParrishDental.com.