My advise is to take your kids hunting… or fishing…or on an atv/motocycle ride… or anything besides leaving them bored and un-stimulated. Why? Because children (more importantly YOUR children) have been studied, and researched since the beginning of study and research, to establish if the ol’ debate of “nature vs. nurture“has any basis. Guess what? They figured out what we have already known… 51% of a child’s behavior, and existence is based upon the environment they grow up in . “So there is only a 2% difference between your genetic predisposition and your learned traits? That doesn’t seem like much to bank on it does it?” I hear you question. Well pump the brakes on that thought for a minute… No wait… Slam the brakes to the floor and put that idea through the windshield. If I told you that I have developed a new gambling game, it cost $20 dollars, and if you win, you double your money. The win/loss ratio is set at 51%/49% in favor of the gambler. First off you would call me an idiot for making a game where the house doesn’t win. Then you would be the first person in line, the “odds” say that you will win more often then you lose. “Yeah, but that’s gambling, not raising children. Compare apples to apples will ya?” Ok, Lets say that you had 2 parents that are both world class athletes, and they have a child. Upon having the child they decide that it doesn’t fit into there life style and put it up for adoption. The child is adopted by a family who eats fast food regularly, and maybe doesn’t exercise as much as they should (read “not at all”). The child’s predisposition says that he or she should grow up to be fit and in good health, and more then likely have a fair amount of athletic potential. But without an outlet to further develop that predisposition, the child will most likely become someone who eats fast food, and doesn’t exercise enough. Nurture will always win that battle. Have you ever seen a Labrador retriever, that is “birdy as could be”, but then that dog goes to a house where no one hunts. The dog adapts to there new owner, and they may show moments of “the hunting dog that they once were”, but the other 99% of the time, they are just a jungle gym for the kids, and a good house pet. The same happens with children.”So what can I do about it, kid’s will be kids right?”
Stop right there and listen to what you just said. That makes no sense what so ever. I have had a son of my own for just a smidge over 5 years, but before that I ran after school and summer programs for North Idaho Youth for Christ. In our programs the predominate theme was kids that were either at-risk or that were already in trouble (Juvenile detention program etc.) and the recurring theme was a very simple one. Children, much like the dinosaurs in Jurassic park, are willing to test every inch of there boundaries, be they electrified fences or consistency of discipline. That goes for adults too, think about your daily life, how many of you drive 3 mph over the speed limit because you know that no cop will pull you over for such a small violation? Then because you got away with 3 mph, you try 5 mph, and get away with that too. Then its 7 mph and you get the ol’ flashing lights , license and registration dance going on. Then as you drive away (ticket in hand) you are upset because yesterday 5 mph over was Ok, and today 7 mph got you a ticket, after all it was just 2 mph over what that cop had seen you driving yesterday. The real problem comes from the fact that you didn’t get a warning when you were making the small mistake. When you got away with something small, you wanted to know how far you can take it before you got in trouble, you are willing to keep testing the boundary until you find the end of the chain, and you don’t like the repercussions. If your a parent, and you tell your son or daughter to be home by 10:00 pm and you don’t scold them when they get home at 10:15, then what time will they get home tomorrow night? and the night after? and the night after that? I think you see where I’m going here.
“Yeah kids need rules, and discipline is important…Yadda, Yadda, Yadda.. But what the hell does that have to do with hunting?” Well that is simple, If you don’t hunt, plug in some activity that you are passionate about. As for me I love the outdoors, and all things associated with it. My son see’s my enthusiasm and want’s to be a part of it. As a small child he was introduced to the outdoors and fell head over boots for it. He sees me throw my pack into my truck or carry my decoys out and he knows that I am going hunting. He wants so badly to be apart of that passion, when I get home, he wants to hear every detail of the hunt. His toys consist of trucks with trailers, atv’s, dirt bikes, you name it, if it has anything to do with being in the wood’s, he wants it. (and thanks to the Grand parents, he probably has it:)) “So what does that have to do with raising a good kid?” This is my favorite part. You want to know a super good way to keep your keep from staying out til God knows when, doing God knows what on Friday night? Take them hunting at 0′ dark thirty Saturday morning. It’s a mean little trick isn’t it? If there love, or passion for something is great enough, and they have the ability to have the option, what will they pick? I’m guessing 99 times out of a hundred they will take the hunting, or fishing or what ever it is, over the hood-rat crap that there friends are doing, and you may be surprised that on some of those mornings, one of your child’s friends may be sitting on the front porch tackle box, rod and reel in hand, just waiting to go. “So your saying that if I spend time with my child, learning what his or her motivation is, then work that towards my favor I am guaranteed a good kid?” Absolutely… not. But what are your options? Look at children that grow up in difficult homes, some turn out great (mostly because they find some kind of outside the home “roll model” or motivation (read “sports”) and build there own foundation from that) but for the most part they struggle growing though adolescence and into adulthood. Do you think those same children, if given more attention and opportunity, would have had an easier time growing up? I sure do. When I was in high school I didn’t have a curfew, it wasn’t because my parents didn’t care, it was because my parents trusted me, and more times then not I would rather be at home. I never knew when Saturday morning may bring a little fishing or if I was really lucky, maybe an impromptu over night camping trip. My parents never had to walk the streets looking for me, all they had to do was holler down the stairs and I would be right up.
I guess what I’m trying to say to you is this, if you really want your children to live up to the expectations that you have for them, you had better live up to the ones they have for you. If you hunt everything that has fur or feathers, you owe it to your child to bag out on one day of going with your hardcore buddies, to take your kid. There is no place that brings family closer there sharing a passion for something. You want to know whats going on in your kids life? Try sitting in a duck blind with them. I will bet that 20 degrees and a 15 mph wind (at 4 A.M.) will stir up the conversation rather quickly. You want to know how your kid is doing in school? Strap on the waders, and grab the fly rods. Find a quiet creek and let the current be your guide, and if you want your children to be honest with you, be honest with them. No matter how tough it may be at times. Just like Uncle Ted Nugent says “If you take your kids hunting, you wont have to hunt for your kids.” And that is a lesson that I think we can all take to heart.
-Grant Willoughby 8/14/2016-