Once a month or so, I have lunch with an old friend that I have known since the second grade. During the course of the conversation, he always asks about my family, and more specifically how my father is doing. Not long ago he confided in me how thankful he was that my father always included him in many of our fishing trips when we were young. His father wasn't much of an outdoors man, and he expressed how grateful he was to have been introduced to the sport by my dad, as it had quite a profound effect on him, and is still something he loves to do, even to this day.
To be honest, its not something I ever really thought about. I probably took for granted that I had a dad that always made as much time for me as possible to be in the woods or on the water. Fishing and hunting were just part of who I was growing up, and it really never occured to me throughout my adolescence that life could or should be any other way.
As I got older though and saw how the paths of some of my friends lives were altered (and not necesarily for the better) that I began to realize that maybe many of my choices and behaviors were shaped by the core values and beliefs that came from the time I spent in the outdoors. Truth be known, fishing and hunting probably kept me out of a lot more trouble than I care to admit, or maybe even realize. When my buddy shared with me how my dad's influence on him altered his life as well, it really made me realize how lucky I really was to have a father that made sure I had the opportunity to be involved in those activities. Even moreso, that he was generous enough to include someone else who wasn't even a member of our family who would have never had those opportunities at all if it werent for him.
Now that I am a dad, I make every effort to make sure my son has the same...perhaps even more opportunities to immerse himself in the outdoor lifestyle as I did. However, because of what my Dad did for my childhood friends, I also feel an obligation to include few of my son's friends in our outdoor activities that may not have those same opportunities. I can only hope that I can have as profound an effect on one of his friends as my dad did on mine.
Since today is Father's Day, I felt it only apropriate to extend my best wishes to all of you Dads out there in Sexyloops land. I'd also to encourage you men who are not fathers, to be a "father figure" to someone who needs it. Unfortunatley, in this generation there are exponentially more kids than not, that need someone in their lives to share the outdoors with them more than ever before.
And to my own Dad, thank you VERY MUCH for passing on to me the tradition of this great sport. I wouldn't have had near the life or career that I've had if it hadnt been for you taking me fishing.
Hope you all have a great week and a great Father's Day,