Sunday, December 23, 2018
I was thinking just yesterday how lucky I was to grow up with woods behind me. And a natural trout stream and a father who liked to fish and work outdoors. A dad who taught me how to split wood and mow the lawn and fish and bait the hooks and shared his love for sports. He isn't a hunter, never was. He said that the one time , his Uncle Bud said that they were going to go rabbit hunting, but that his uncle ran into some friends of his on the way and then ended up shooting craps in a back alley in Trenton, New Jersey. After that, they did a little target practice and went home. But that's okay, he gave me enough. I did have neighbors that hunted, but it was sorta an unknown, mysterious thing. All of the men in the family would go for a week to Western Maryland and deer hunt, but I can't ever remember them bringing a deer home. I think that they went there as a tradition and to get away from the world a little, which I think is great.
Now, my kids suck at times like everyone's do. They are a real pain sometimes to deal with and sometimes I want to go to Mexico alone and never return. But all that stuff put aside, I knew that when I had children that I always wanted to teach them what my dad taught me and I knew that I wanted to also include hunting and fighting. I got into a lot of fights growing up, but didn't know what I was doing. I'd just go crazy with rage and fists flying. I took lessons as soon as I had the money to pay for them, and I am so happy that I did. Hunting was something that I took up right after college and it is by far, my favorite thing to do. I got a gun when I started getting interested in hunting, and I had never been around guns before. I swore that I would teach my kids how to be around guns and shoot them , clean them and to not be scared of them, to respect them.
My twelve year old is into all of that stuff more than my other two boys. One is six, so a little young. The other is seventeen and he likes to fish, but doesn't get the whole freezing to death thing while hunting. But he still goes once in a while.
The twelve year old started going hunting with me when he was four, got his hunting license when he was eight and competed in a national duck calling contest when he was eight . When we go goose hunting, he is so much better at calling than I that I don't say a word.
I started his fighting lessons he was four or so, just the basic punches and kicks, and I taught the other boys some combinations also. I want them to have the confidence to protect themselves and others if need be.
I guess that I view all of this stuff as a rite of passage that I believe boys should go through. Your first fish, hunting trip, first time shooting a gun, first time that you killed a goose and the respect for the bird, and being around other men while hunting and fishing who do hard things and have calloused hands and speak bluntly and laugh and cut up and enjoy life. Men without "messenger bags" (I had to look up what they are called) and who piss outside (definitely important ), and drink whiskey without wincing.
I think that maybe that much of this is being lost, along with the traditions that made American men, well, American. It's not enough to watch all this stuff on a PlayStation but to get out there and have the boys learn from being in difficult and sometimes a little scary situations. And to listen to men talk and to be cold and be too hot and learn not to complain and to have your muscles ache after chopping wood.
When I think about why this is all important to me, I think that the idea is to strive to raise complete men , men who are self sufficient and well read and well mannered and can also fight. I know that this stuff is seen as barbaric and outdated to some, and that's okay. Those same folks will be hiding behind the complete men when the shit really hits the fan.
All About Being a Lifer
What's a Lifer? Someone who isn't in to something for just a day, a month, a year...it's for life. Whether its training or your family or your job...it doesn't matter. You work at it, you build on it, you see the big picture . You don't miss workouts because it means something to you. You are like a Shakespearean actor- no matter what is going on in your life, you block it out when it's time to train. You walk into the weight room and all else disappears. Worry about it later.