When you’re cleaning your gun, it can give you time to think…. It’s a process your fingertips know so well, you can detach yourself from it.
Next time you have a chance, think about this while you’re cleaning. Your guns are meant for pleasure, for protection, for hunting and food, and enjoying for their looks among other things.
Your family might not know all those things when you introduce them to firearms. That’s why it’s your job to teach them.
As it says in Proverbs “Train up a child when he is young, and when he is old, he will not depart from it”.
It’s important to expose your children to guns early on. So they’re not afraid, so they understand, and so they can enjoy them.
Take Reagan for example. Her father, Eric Dinger, is an avid hunter and fisher. He wanted her to experience hunting the way he does. So he took her. This is his account:
Life with three kids and a new business can be pretty busy. So, you can imagine my excitement when I found yesterday there was nothing on the family calendar and I was going to be able to leave work in time to make it out to my favorite dove hunting spot. Time to take advantage of one of the best parts of living in a place like Lincoln; you’re never more than 15 minutes from a dirt road!
As I worked my way through the day, a thought hit me. Today would be the perfect day to take Reagan, my four year-old daughter, on her first hunt! The weather was right, there wasn’t going to be a big group and she didn’t have any plans.
“Watching her trample fearlessly through the grass made me realize that we teach our little girls to be afraid of things like bugs. They aren’t naturally all that caught-up in how “yucky” things are.”
I’m always excited to get outdoors, something I think I come by naturally. In fact, almost every year my Dad says something to me along the lines of,
“I’m 54… 5… 6… years old, and I’m still as excited to go hunting as I was when I was a kid.”
Having now hunted for the first time with Reagan, I’m witness to a new level of excitement. Maybe that was the simple joy of a little girl and her Daddy spending time doing something together. But, I think there was more to it.
Here’s a glimpse into our evening together. I hope you’ll use it as a reason to take the young people in your life out with you next time you go…
First things first, Mom needed a picture, CHECK!
Next, we had to make our ceremonial stop at the gas station. Is it even possible to start a hunting trip without it?
Jackpot! A spinny airplane candy dealy bobber with some Hello Kitty juice. Nice work, Junk Food Marketers, you win this time.
On our way out to the spot we found some teal on the pond. Reagan used her “binocliers” to “make them look huge.” Right at about this point I realized how awesome this night might get.
We caught grasshoppers and butterflies until the doves started to fly overhead. Watching her trample fearlessly through the grass made me realize that we teach our little girls to be afraid of things like bugs. They aren’t naturally all that caught-up in how “yucky” things are. Note to self: Don’t teach her to be afraid of singing in public, dancing her butt off at weddings, speaking her mind, or talking in front of groups of people, either.
We had a little safety lesson. She learned never to play with real guns and to never ever point a gun at people, even the fake ones. And, she learned that guns are safe if we’re safe with them and they’re dangerous if we don’t follow the rules. She said, “okay, Dad” as if depositing those little morsels into her long-term memory bank.
Next, I got to learn about all kinds of important things. Like, how bugs probably don’t like candy and how Mom doesn’t always need flowers, but we might need to pick her some anyways.
As the shadows got long, the doves started flying. She was ready.
When the first dove hit the ground, she took off after it. It will never cease to amaze me how a little girl who wears Disney Princess gear 24×7 can toss on her jeans and mix it up with the best of them. With no hesitation, she grabbed the dove by the foot and proudly showed me she wasn’t afraid. It was then that she noticed the blood. I feared this moment, because I knew she would ask. “What’s wrong with his head… does he have a headache?” Ready, I answered, “no, honey, he’s dead.” In stride, she said, “well then we’ll take him home and we can eat him, right?” Right. We’d talked about this topic many times while fishing, but she had already made the correlation to hunting. The things we eat were once alive. They have to die in order for us to live. Simple, I guess.
It’s hard for me to think of a time when she was happier to be with me. Not only was it the one-on-one time all little kids love, but I think she was genuinely interested in learning about hunting. She told me I was just like her teacher. That’s high praise from a pre-schooler…. From her frenzied 25-minute recounting of the story to her Mom on the phone to the unbridled joy on her face, she had made my night so special.
At four years of age, Reagan is handling guns. She is watching her father as an example and being gently guided on how to use guns.
She knows not to point them at people. She knows they are not toys.
And most importantly she is spending time with her father. He points out at the very beginning he has three kids and a new business. So for him, this time is already rare. But instead of just using it on himself, he involves his daughter.
This is the time that will shape her life. What better way to do it than with guns, the outdoors, and time spent with her Father.
What do you think of Eric’s approach to taking his daughter out to hunt? Let us know in the comments below.