John's Journal...


Find a Good Wife Like you Pick a Good Bird Dog: She’s Got to be Trainable and from Good Stock

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.

Marriage was always an issue I enjoyed hearing Dad's perspective on, even at a young age. The summer before I left for college, Dad Click to enlargedecided to give me some practical advice for finding my marriage partner and emphasized how important being selective was. "Son, when you're searching for that special someone, look beyond beauty, and see what's in her heart. Don't fall in love with someone just because they look good, can cook and have the best sugar. Finding the right wife is like picking the best bird dog. First, you have to know they come from good stock. You can tell a lot about a person by her relationship with her parents and family. Secondly, she must be devoted to you and to your future children, because that's where the real bond begins. Both of you must be trainable. You have to find someone who's willing to follow you wherever you go and to support you no matter what. You have to do the same for them. Never settle Click to enlargefor second best." I constantly returned to those words as I spent my days sifting through the college dating landscape and soon realized that finding that best person for me was more difficult than I'd thought. Then one day when I met that special person, Dad was right. I didn't settle for second best.

Find Your Direction, and Change Your Vantage Point:

My father gave me a compass to wear around my neck when I was 8-years old to use whenever I got lost in the woods. At 20-years old, I was trying to discern my life's direction when Dad and I went to one of our favorite lodges, White Oak Plantation, to hunt white-tailed deer. I’d reached a crossroads in my life and had to decide in which direction my career might go. This decision weighed heavily on my mind as we slipped out into the morning darkness toward our tree stands. Although the stands at White Oak were marked with flagging tape, I Click to enlargestill wandered off the trail and became lost in an area of very-thick cane. Once the sun came up, I saw my stand through the thick brush and climbed into it. I soon spotted a glint of sunlight bouncing off a set of antlers in the brush. Because the thick brush kept me from getting a good shot, I stood up in the stand for a better vantage point. When the buck came near, I made an easy, clean shot. Later that night as I recounted the story to Dad, he helped me realize how the day’s event could help me through my feelings of uncertainty. “You will stray off the path best for you at times and feel lost. But, John, you’ll always have help finding your way. If things are closing in around you, and you can’t see what you need to do, then change your vantage point.”


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 4