John's Journal...


Realize Absence Makes the Heart Grow Fonder

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.

While in my early teens, my Uncle Archie would say, "John, I know you won't always be my hunting buddy. The lure of perfume and gasoline will take you away from me. I'll lose you for a few years to girls and sports. But then one day you'll come back to your love of the Click to enlargeoutdoors and hunt with me and your dad. Then you will love hunting even more." He was right. I took a break from hunting and fishing in the middle of my teenage years - not by design but because my priorities had changed. So involved with sports, school, work and girls, I lost my zest for hunting and fishing. My father sensed my dilemma and gave me time to pursue other activities.

When I went to college, I realized I was missing out on some great trips and enjoying my dad's words of wisdom. Since I was older and more mature, I began to invite Dad to go on trips with me. We would fly-fish for panfish at the local river, squirrel hunt with my uncle or go deep-sea fishing on vacation. My love for the outdoors returned stronger than ever before. As an adult, I took my dad on these adventures and did most of the driving, often mainly to talk to him about Click to enlargehow to raise my family or what decision I needed to make at work. Nothing had changed. The outdoors was just as good a tool for me to have quality time with my dad then as it had been for me when I was younger. I also could prepare myself for the time when I took my children hunting and fishing with me.

Today, the scenery has changed from those deserted back-country roads we once traveled to a busy metropolitan city’s four-lane highways. Now I have a precious 2-year-old daughter, Emma Grace, who loves to fish and wants to go with her Daddy every afternoon to our neighborhood lake that’s filled with all kinds of fish. My wife and I are expecting a son before Christmas. When my dad and I travel to an adventure, he’ll be awake and snacking on some cookies my wife's made once we reach its end. He’ll open the trunk when we stop, collect his things and wave goodbye as he heads inside. Pulling out of the driveway, I realize, that like my dad I want to make the most of my time with my
children ...
Click to enlarge * giving them opportunities to learn and grow in the outdoors,

* teaching them how to respect nature and how to find their direction, and
* sharing my advice on life and happiness.

I'm sad when I'm leaving my dad, but then I realize this trip isn't the end. We'll have many more trips and other chances for us to connect in the outdoors and learn more about life and each other. When was the last time you spent quality time in the outdoors with your son, your daughter, your grandchild, your niece, your nephew or a young neighbor friend? Remember it isn’t your money that they want and need the most but rather you and your time.

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 5