by Jeff Boswell | February 10, 2020
Recently one of my daughters (I have three) came to me and said how lucky I was that I never had a boy so that all of my girls learned how to hunt and fish. While I do not know if that is true or not, they all have been thoroughly introduced to the great outdoors. Since they were old enough to walk, they went with me on weekend trips whether we were hunting, fishing or just looking for arrowheads. As they grew older they went from spectators to participants in all the activities. While they are grown now, the statement made me think about how learning to be outdoors-women changed my life and theirs.
Without question, the skills they learned from outdoor activities gave them confidence that is easy to recognize. From their ability to handle a shotgun on skeet shoots with the high school boys they befriended, talking duck species with friends’ dads, and the ability to skin hook a plastic worm on a Texas rig while fishing with the groups they ran with; they would often find themselves as the center of attention for doing things that they probably thought everybody knew how to do. In Texas, many teenagers and young adults will have the opportunity to go out with their group of friends to farms and ranches on trips. On these occasions, my girls always found themselves “in charge” of activities because they knew what they were doing. Being placed in such positions at a young age worked into their adult lives that has given them poise and tenacity that I do not think they would have achieved without acquiring these traits through their early outdoor experiences.
Spending time in the outdoors also taught them other important life lessons; they learned patience in the time of here and now with fingertip information from phones and apps. A little patience in life goes a long way. They also became accustomed to dealing with lack of comfort such as cold/hot weather and lack of modern conveniences which helps them deal with a multitude of situations.
Importantly, their outdoor experiences gave them a sense of perspective over a myriad of things in life, including knowing where food comes from, which I believe will allow them to successfully manage the many challenges life presents.
For me, spending all of that time in the great outdoors with my daughters gave me quality time that I would never have had without these activities to really get to know them. Spending all day on a fishing trip, or long hours in a hunting blind, I was rewarded with opportunities to really know them and hear things that I am sure even their mother was not aware of. I also had a captive audience for each of them to listen to my words of wisdom without the everyday distractions found in everyone’s homes these days. I hope my conveyed thoughts and perspectives will make a positive impact on their lives.
Now that they are grown, going to the ranch with their boyfriends and husbands along is always a big time and allows me to capture my daughters for those brief days that brings them back home. Having made the decision to sacrifice a few things to be able to have a place in the outdoors afforded me the opportunity for all of the incredible times spent with them that I would have missed. It is certainly one of the best life investments I have made.
The Old Man ain’t much to look at on the hoof. He’s got big ears that flap out and a scrubby mustache with light yellow tobacco stains on it. He smokes a crook stem pipe and he shoots an old pump gun that looks about as battered as he does. The thing I like most about the Old Man is he is willing to talk about what he knows, and he never talks down to a kid. Excerpt from Robert Ruark’s classic, The Old Man and the Boy.