Father’s Day is a holiday for offspring to honor their father. Yard tools or a “World’s Greatest Dad” t-shirt may fulfill the obligation of gift giving from children to father. As a young boy, the gifts I presented to dad on father’s day were no different. Except instead of tools, I aimed at the leisure times of dad’s life. A new fishing rod or the latest lure would be placed in dad’s lap. The oddly taped package was accepted by dad with a big smile and a, “Oh boy. What do we have here?”
After the gift was opened, I heard the question I had hoped for. “Well, we might as well go try this thing out, shouldn’t we?” asked dad. Before he could change his mind, I would announce to the family that dad wanted to go fishing. It was f
Father’s day, but who actually gave the gift on that holiday? Dad received the store bought gift, but with dad, he was the one who offered the greatest gift.
As a father, the greatest assets in my life are my children. That was the same for my father. Those days on the water with dad find their way into many of my articles, obviously those times made a lasting impression on me as a child. The same is true for my siblings who share their “outdoor excursions with dad” memories at family gatherings. Father’s Day was a big deal in our family, an opportunity to spend time with dad in his preferred surroundings.
Fishing is a growing sport for several reasons. One reason is the media is reminding and informing the public of the benefits fishing offers all ages. Dad taught his kids not only how to fish, but to respect our natural surroundings. If we were walking a lake shore and discovered trash left behind from a careless scoundrel, we would pick it up and take it with us. Little things like that were lessons that dad thrived on. Having his kids away from the chaos of everyday life and to have our full attention, dad took advantage of the opportunity to share his knowledge and respect for the great outdoors.
During a recent presentation I performed at a junior high school on the subject of the wild turkey, I noticed impatient reactions from the students wanting to ask questions regarding wildlife and its survival. What I taught the kids that day was accepted better and will be retained longer than if I would have simply passed out a booklet and told them to read it. Times when a young person is focused on the lesson at hand, the information must be entertaining and educational for the lesson to be successful and long-term. That’s exactly what dad did during our outdoor adventures. Not only did we kids take advantage of Father’s Day to be with dad, dad took advantage of the special day to teach.
The lessons of respecting nature, other outdoors enthusiasts and wildlife, are a few lessons that I now transfer to my own kids. I have some of those lures and rods that I gave dad years ago, but the most prized gifts are the ones that dad gave to me on the day that was intended for him. Many of the expeditions that I go on today include flashbacks to my youth and the lessons dad taught. This Father’s Day I plan to take my kids fishing. If the fish are biting, that’s great, if not that’s ok also. I will have the chance to talk with the kids about important matters and share stories about their grandpa they never met. I will be carrying on a family tradition, sharing a gift handed down from dad that is more important to this father than any lawn rake or silly t-shirt.