By Darren Marcy
STAFF WRITER | June 16,2013
Happy Fatherís Day to you dads out there.
This is a day about warm and fuzzy. There are cards, gifts, maybe a barbecue or some fishing is involved. Itís a day to say thanks to our dads and let them know you see them as something beyond a wallet or the keeper of the car keys.
I was a little bit rotten and I often used Fatherís Day to improve my own collection of outdoor gear.
I remember as a young boy who was without a tackle box at the time. Every time I asked, dad said I didnít need my own tackle box. Everything I needed was in his box.
But I wasnít going to settle for that.
As we went to the store to shop for a Fatherís Day gift I hatched my plan.
ďMom, I know just what to get dad for Fatherís Day,Ē I said.
ďA new tackle box. Have you see how old and ratty his is? And itís small. Letís get him a new one, big enough to hold everything and have room to spare.Ē
On Fatherís Day, dadís new tackle box was unveiled and I was at the ready with his old box.
ďLetís start moving your stuff over now,Ē I suggested, probably just a little too eagerly.
I thought I was being pretty slick, but dad knew what I was up to. He knew. Thinking back on the look on his face, there was probably never any doubt in his mind what I was up to.
But he didnít care. He likely wanted me to have that tackle box more than Iíll ever know.
That, in my mind is what Fatherís Day is all about. At least for those dads with youngish kids.
For most dads and kids, itís a fun day. Dad gets a rod and reel or a socket set. The kids get the thrill of doing something nice for dad.
Dad throws on the surprised face and pretends he didnít remember it was Fatherís Day, while secretly hoping he doesnít get another dozen golf balls he wonít use.
But thereís a whole other part to this story that plays out the rest of the year and thatís what Iím hoping youíll keep in mind today.
Kids spend their lives looking up to their dad. Often they want to be just like dad. Even girls will emulate pops.
I have a photo of my oldest daughter who was about 2 years old and had put on my hiking boots and a blaze-orange ball cap sheíd found one day after I had returned from a tromp through the woods.
The boots nearly reached her knee and the photo is turned backward like a catcher as her curly, gold locks spill out from under the cap.
Itís a priceless photo.
Recently, I saw a photo a woman posted on Facebook of a young boy wearing ďPapaísĒ fishing vest. The vest nearly drags the ground as he stands along the banks of Otter Creek.
These are fun times, but not all actions by dad are positive.
Dads, letís make sure we are giving our kids a good image to follow.
As weíre in the campground, teach your kids to police the area and leave it better than they found it.
While fishing, never throw monofilament on the ground. Instead teach your kids about the dangers of monofilament to birds and other wildlife and show them how you stick it in your pocket to throw in the trash or recycle later.
If hunting, always, always, always, practice gun safety and teach all the time. Never violate gun safety in your hurry to try to get your deer or turkey. You kid might pick that up and the result could be catastrophic.
But in addition to modeling good behavior, letís make sure weíre not sitting on the couch all weekend when the sun is shining. Teach them to love the outdoors by taking them outdoors. Make sure your kids will have the love of wildlife and wild places in them to teach your grandkids.
Youíre not just giving them a gift for a lifetime, you might be planting the seeds in their heads that will turn into a new tackle box for you as a future Fatherís Day present.
Contact Darren at firstname.lastname@example.org.