Candy Coated

11 Days ago I had the privilege of becoming a father for the second time ( I know, I know, number 2 is gonna feel slighted every year because his birthday is piled in there with Christmas, what can I do about it now?) As exciting as a new rugrat is, I already have one son, and just because you get a new toy, doesn’t mean that you just go and forget about your old ones right? To make the whole situation work more smoothly, My oldest spent the 2 nights that we were in the hospital, having a sleepover at my parents house. All was going smoothly until day 2…. “His cough isn’t getting any better, probably need to take him in” my Mom’s voice said across the phone, “alright” I replied and scheduled an appointment. An hour later, I’m sitting with my son in his pediatricians office, and they are asking me to hold his arms down and his head back, they needed to swab his nose. (if you don’t have children, or have never had your nose swabbed (I have never had it done) let me tell you brother, it isn’t what you think it is? Me being oblivious, tell my son that they must need to use a q-tip to get a boog sample to test… Man I could not have been more wrong, it was like a Sucker Punch style frontal lobotomy with a trial sized chimney brush. As tough as my son is, and as much as he tried to hold it back, the tears welled up in the corners of his eyes. I felt bad, not because he had to have it done (sometimes we all have to do things that we don’t want to, or that are uncomfortable for us) but because I felt like I had lied to him. In all actuality, I had no idea what the procedure entailed. In so it would be impossible for me to lie to him without the intention to deceive. But either way he was hurt, which brings me to my point…

As much as I am all the things I write about, hunting and fishing, guns and knives, survival and prepping, I am also a father. With that privilege, comes a responsibility. It is my job to protect my children, to keep them safe, lead them in the right direction and to instill in them what is right. Tell the truth, be honest, be trustworthy. Therein lies the problem: Sometimes you have to spread the truth pretty thin in order to protect your children. You, much like myself, have made a conscious decision to be an active link in your own survival plan. I would say that a reasonable percentage of you carry some sort of personal protection every day, do your children know why? Like exactly why? My son knows that I carry because I want to be able to protect myself, my family, and those that cannot protect themselves. I don’t feel the need to tell him that the average police response time is around 10 minutes, or that there is an ever-growing drug culture that surrounds us where (especially in the Northwest) meth is a running rampant. So why don’t I feel the need to paint those gory pictures of scabby, toothless zombies who will stop at nothing to get their fix, trying to break into your home, while you wait 10 minutes for police to arrive to my 6-year-old son? Because he is a CHILD, children should have the ability to stay children and deal with child issues for as long as possible. One day you are riding bikes around the neighborhood, trying to make it home before the streetlights come on, eating lunchables, drinking Capri sun, and hoping to get a new Nintendo game for your birthday. The next you are worrying about financial responsibility, insurance, public school standards, high blood pressure, the list goes on and on. Why would you want a child to start their adult worrying before that time has come? Yes my son knows that I may have a “few” more rounds for my firearms then most “normal” people, but he thinks it’s because I love to hunt and shoot (And he’s right) he doesn’t really need to know that I have first hand knowledge about ammo shortages, back-door gun control, and the potential of  a collapse of civilization. Hearing both explanations, I would rather live believing the first explanation too. You want your children to start preparing for their future at an early age? Teach them how to cook, put them in a first aid class, teach them the value of a hard days work and callused hands. As tempting as it is to train your 7-year-old daughter how to properly execute “Mozambique drills” or  how to start a fire with her own urine, remember that they are only children and need to be eased into the level of awareness that we have chose. I doubt that Mattel is ever going to liscense a “Barbies first bunker” kit, and thats probably for good reason.

It is a pretty scary world out there, and there are times when I wish that I could go back to the lifestyle of a child. I am still known to knockdown a juicebox and a bag of smiley face fruit snacks on occasion.  I still like to sit back and watch “a Christmas story” come December and remember the excitement of Santa’s arrival. Yet no matter how hard I try, I cannot take myself all the way back, I already know too much of this adult life. That is why I am careful to hold my tongue around the kiddos about my “adult” life,  and why I sometimes “waterdown” the truth a little bit with them in order to make it easier for them to swallow. They will turn around a couple times and be in the same place I am, and longing for the lost innocense of their youth. What kind of father would I be if I try to speed them through the greatest years of their lives? And even as we grow to ripe old ages, it is important to not forget the excitement and wonder of our youth, and how nice it was to have things a little “candy coated”.

Happy New Year.

-Grant Willoughby 12/31/2018-

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