Monday, December 29, 2014

Parents... We Can All Do Better

I guess it's been more than a month ago since I skipped our daughter Hadley out of school for the day and we ran up to the Davidson River to go fly fishing together.  I put a couple photos up on social media, posted a larger report up on T.F.M., and Orvis even ran a short story highlighting the day on their fly fishing blog.  Hadley thought she was kinda famous and of course she really got a kick out of catching a bunch of rainbow trout on a day off of school.

It was neat to highlight a day on the water together with photographs and a few words and it was also fun to read comments left online by readers.  I did start to worry a bit with the references of me being such a great dad for taking my daughter along and how Hadley would remember this day forever.  I guess it would have been easy to just pat myself on the back and carrying on but instead I really started thinking that if this came across as so unusual and extraordinary that a dad was taking his daughter fly fishing for the day then we all need to do better.  I hope that Hadley, along with our son Finn, look back at their childhood as a series of adventures and good times outdoors and not as that one time my dad took me along fly fishing.

I don't pretend to know anything exceptional about parenting.  We follow just a few simple rules in our home that seem to be working so far with our nine year old daughter and five year old son.  I'm am certainly not looking down my nose at anyone.  We all need to spend more time outside with our children.  I know we didn't do enough this year to get Hadley and Finn fishing and playing in the outdoors and my wife and I are already committing to doing a lot better next year with a few camping, kayaking, and fishing trips already in the works.

I also get that fly fishing might be your thing.  Your way to get away.  And it does change the dynamic entirely when you bring your child or children along.  You should look at a fly fishing trip together as you are now playing guide and balance the day showing how something is done and then letting them do it themselves.  They'll get it and there really are few things in life that are more satisfying than teaching and then watching as a child does something on their own for the first time.  Then they get really good at it which brings on another level of satisfaction.

There are a handful of parents that I follow online through various blogs and social media who do spend their time outdoors as a family whether it be fishing, hunting, or camping.  They are an inspiration and it's really cool to see the places that they are taking their children and everything that they are exposing them to along the way.  I aspire to do a lot of these things with my own family.       

So, as we are all at the doorstep of the New Year, let's make the decision to spend more time with our children outside.  We'll be better for it in the end and if fly fishing is going to translate to the next generation, then it's up to all of us to show them how to do it.

What plans do you already have in the works for your family getting outside in 2015?


MacLoosh said...

Great Post!

Morgan Kupfer said...

Well said Cam. We actually bought the kids their first fishing rods (although I doubt Gray will be out anytime soon, he is only 2 months old). We also signed up for passes for State Parks so we can get out and explore biodiversity within the state. Should be fun!

steve said...

Be careful, I took mine camping, fishing, rock climbing, boating, hiking and successfully instilled a love of all things outdoors in him. Then he moved to Montana! Honestly spend every minute you can with them. You will only have them for a short while and they will be gone. I am still amazed at how fast it happened.

Howard Levett said...

Well done Cam! You make good parents proud.