John's Journal...


Don’t Waste an Opportunity When Outside with the Birds and the Bees

Click to enlargeEDITOR'S NOTE: All of us want the best for our children and want to spend as much time as possible with them. My now-grown son, John, has written his thoughts about the importance of outdoor parenting, and I wanted to share them with you. After hearing John’s recollections about our time spent outdoors, I realize that sometimes we don’t recognize the value of an outdoor heritage or understand what time outdoors means to the young people involved or how it impacts our children.

The outdoor trip began auspiciously with a small paperback book with a picture of a boy on its front and the title, "Almost Twelve," that my father plopped down into my lap. I had no idea about theClick to enlarge contents of the book, but felt I'd spend the next few hours finding out. "I want you to read this book and ask me any questions you may have," my father told me. For the first time, he was talking seriously to me about sex and knew his best chance would be in the car on the way to a hunting or fishing destination. Never before or since was there so much silence on one of our outdoor excursions. I tried to understand the fancy words and diagrams in the book, while my father had a peculiar look on his face like he wanted me to ask a question but really didn't. My dad explained that sex was something that should be saved for marriage when two people loved each other. The book wasn't that interesting or informative, but I learned on this trip that I could talkClick to enlarge with my dad about anything. The book broke down barriers and sparked some key conversations about marriage and sex. On later trips, I felt free to discuss dating, girlfriends and what I should look for in a wife without being embarrassed or nervous.

Don't Run Away From Your Fears, Meet Them Head On:

My godfather, Bubber Cameron, also played a key role in my life. "Mr. Bubber" owned a quail preserve and bird dog training school in Panola, Alabama, where I often spent time with him and his sons. Mr. Bubber, a very-religious man who always put his faith and his family first, never shied away from teaching outdoor lessons. Unfortunately quail hunting at Mr. Bubber's meant Click to enlargeriding horses. Although I'd always loved animals, every time I'd been around a horse, I'd been bucked-off, kicked or bitten. Before the hunt, I talked to Mr. Bubber and told him how scared I was. He pulled me off to the side, and in his slow southern drawl gave me some quick advice. "John, don't let the horse know you're scared or else he’ll react to that fear and get nervous. Sit up there, be confident, and don't be afraid to face what scares you." His advice paid off. By the end of the day, I'd changed from someone scared to death of horses, to an accomplished rider. Even though I didn't have much success shooting quail or working the bird dogs, I learned a key life lesson from the day's events: confidence in myself and my abilities could help me conquer my faults and face my fears.


Check back each day this week for more about OUTDOOR PARENTING 101 - WITH JOHN E. PHILLIPS, JR.

Day 1: Make the Most of Your Time
Day 2: Respect Nature By Not Wasting Anything Meant for Dinner
Day 3: Don’t Waste an Opportunity When Outside with the Birds and the Bees
Day 4: Find a Good Wife Like you Pick a Good Bird Dog: She’s Got to be Trainable and from Good Stock
Day 5: Realize Absence Makes the Heart Grow Fonder



Entry 312, Day 3