Teach Them To Fish…

Here’s Monday’s post a little early for those of you who like to check in on Sunday.

The winner of the pararcord bracelet from Cobra Braid is …..

Ray!  Congrats, Ray!

Send me your email address and I’ll send the bracelet out to you.


Sunday’s are special days for me and my boy.  That’s the day when we go down to the local sporting goods store and hang out together.  He gets to have gum from the gum machine and hang out with the guys while we shoot our bows.  My sister showed up with my nephew who likes to shoot (he’s 11) a0407131407bnd my son adores him.  So it’s a good time for the family to get together and do stuff.   Mrs Jarhead and the baby run around town until I call her to come pick us up.

Today my boy got looking around the store and saw a fishing rod and asked me if he could have it.  Well, it was $16 and he had $20 from an Easter gift that we said he could spend (90% of his money goes into a savings account), so I said sure, if he wanted to spend his money on that he could.

He bought the fishing rod, which came with one of those little toy casting fish, and when we got home he wanted to give it a try.  We put it together and went out on the back lawn and he did real well with it.  Then mommy – who loves fishing – suggested we take it across the road and try it in the pond.  I wish you could have seen him beaming the first time he got it in the lake!

Then he kept saying, “I”m going to catch a big fish, daddy!  C’mon big boy!” as he reeled it in looking for that fish.

Folks, get your kids outside.  Find something they like to do outdoors and help them do it.  We had a hell of time together.  And it’s very satisfying when they pay attention and you can see them improve in just a short time.  Finally I asked if he wanted to go inside.  The wind was blowing and it was pretty cold out and he said, “No.  C’mon big boy!” as he reeled it in.

I couldn’t help but grin.  He’s like his dad when it comes to the great outdoors.

Not only is he having fun, but he’s also learning a practical skill that he’ll enjoy the rest of his life.

How about it?  Have you taken your kids outside lately?  Or did you when they were young?

Questions?  Comments?

Sound off below!

-Jarhead Survivor

39 comments… add one
  • j.r. guerra in s. tx. April 7, 2013, 3:56 pm

    Man, I’m SO jealous, you having a fishing pond across the street. Your son sounds like he is already hooked on the sport – I hope he enjoys it.

    When I grew up in the 1970’s, we had an irrigation canal with largemouth bass, channel cats, bluegill, Rio Grande perch carp and even some gaspergou about a 1/4 mile from my home. The gang spent a lot of time fishing there, it was a helluva lot of fun. Until girls distracted us, fishing was a major activity.

    • Jarhead Survivor April 8, 2013, 8:00 am

      Hey j.r. – this is Maine. We have the pond across the street, at least two streams and two swamps with high water within walking distance. Then if I want to get in the truck and throw the rods and canoe in the back there are at least four major lakes within a 20 minute drive. Another ten minutes gets me to the Atlantic Ocean. Plenty of fish there!

  • Carolyn April 7, 2013, 4:22 pm

    Well, we still have a foot or more of snow on the ground, so I haven’t got my boys fishing yet, and I still need to get my license. But we have plans to! Before we moved from the city, we had taken them down to a river. They didn’t catch anything, but I know they had fun because they asked when we were going back. As soon as spring comes, they’ll be helping me with the garden, and so far this year, they’ve “helped” with the snow removal. We’re looking forward to hiking picnics too!
    So yeah, we’ve all been outside, just not much in the past 4 months.

    • Jarhead Survivor April 8, 2013, 8:02 am

      I hear you Carolyn. The weather in Maine today is expected to get up to 55 degrees! The first time in a long time we’ve felt those scorching temps! If this kind of heat wave keeps up the big snow pile pushed up by the plow guy might be gone in a week or two. haha!

  • Walt April 7, 2013, 6:00 pm

    I love kids, when they’re cooked properly :)

    He sure looks happy, good looking kid too. None here, so I get to play cool Uncle/Cousin/Adult, which is better in some ways. Teaching them to shoot, fish, drive (w/a clutch when they’re a little older), 4-wheeling, hiking (after dark, with scary stories), fire building (w/smores and banana boats), or whatever. Love pushing the age restrictions when they’re ready to handle it, and under strict guidance of course. Drives the Mom’s crazy sometimes, “you let him/her do what?”…

    Think more than anything, I like encouraging the “you can do it” attitude, then give them just enough help to make sure they succeed. In other words, spoil ’em good for a weekend, then hand them back to Mom and Dad for their long ride home while I go take a nap.

    • Jarhead Survivor April 8, 2013, 8:03 am

      Hey Walt – I do the same things with my own kids and nieces and nephews. My sister swallows and allows her son to come camping with me knowing that he’s going to be exposed to some new kind of terrifying activity. Ha!

  • gat31 April 7, 2013, 8:00 pm

    when l was a kid my parents/grandparents made me learn everything!
    We went tubing down the rivers, camping, and fishing at least once a month every summer. My grandparents had me every school holiday on their 10 acres so gardening and fishing and rabbit/ chicken cleaning were just part of the summer. l’ve been teaching my grandson gardening and he has just started asking me about fishing so that’s the plan for this summer. l’ll never forget when l took my kids camping the first time and they wanted to buy the stacked wood at the store and l said no we are in the middle of 20 acres of woods we will be fine. When l actually got a fire started and cooked outside they were amazed. My son took weekend trips to the woods with a backpack and a pup tent from that year on almost every weekend. l miss those times.

    • Jarhead Survivor April 8, 2013, 8:05 am

      I love watching kids the first time I light a fire with wood I’ve gathered and using only my knife and firesteel. They’re totally amazed.

  • waterboy April 7, 2013, 9:31 pm

    My kids lived outdoors when they were young and I am happy to see that they are continuing that with their kids. Shooting, hunting, fishing, camping, fishing, they love it all. Makes Grandpa proud.

    • Jarhead Survivor April 8, 2013, 8:05 am

      Waterboy – I think that if you live and really love that your kids will pick up on the sincerity of living “true” and take up some of those same habits themselves.

  • Michael April 8, 2013, 1:16 am

    Mom and dad always had us kids on some sort of outdoor adventure, hiking, camping, fishing, gleaning in the orchards of the Yakima Valley. My parents had friends with a cattle ranch in central Oregon and we got put to work on it for a week or two every summer.

    I bought a small sailboat at the age of 13 (saved up paper route money) and was sailing solo around Puget Sound by the time I was 15. One of my nieces caught the water-bug from me, she’s 12 and just joined a flat-water-kayak racing team.

    • Jarhead Survivor April 8, 2013, 8:07 am

      That’s great, Michael. By the time I was 15 I was doing solo winter hiking and not thinking anything of it. Good for you and your niece!

  • gardener April 8, 2013, 1:51 am

    When I was growing up in the 1980s – 1990s in a rural area, even in a house with four kids it was common for one of us to ask if a friend could come over. Most of the time my mom’s answer was “Yes, as long as you play outside”. So many days there would be 1-4 extra kids out with us building forts, sledding, biking, etc. etc. Very popular was skating on Friday nights when we turned on the lights that my dad had installed around our pond and all the neighbors came over to skate, then everybody just walked back to their own house again when they got cold or tired.

    It isn’t necessary for parents to make their kids go outside, just create the conditions that the kids want to go out. For example, we didn’t have cable tv or the latest video games, but everyone had a bike, skates and a sled, plus numerous other ‘outdoor only’ toys to share.

    • Jarhead Survivor April 8, 2013, 8:07 am

      Gardener – that was my house too! Our house was where all the kids came to play… outside.

  • Jason April 8, 2013, 3:01 am

    When it comes to kids it seems so easy to say we can do it tomorrow but remember, tomorrow is the busiest day of the week.

    When my older kids were 6 & 7, I was a very busy man. I built a very successful business & 3 others that stemmed from the original one. My days were incredibly full, too full as it turned out. I was a good & kind dad but was way to sucked in to something I thought was most important – my career. I told the lie that many tell – I am doing this for my family.

    Suddenly one day God said that’s enough. I ended up in the hospital to get emergency surgery – I almost died. When I left the hospital 5 days later I realized something important, my job & career meant nothing. Had I died, what legacy would I leave behind? Nothing of any value, money is worthless.

    Within the next 2 months while I was healing, I realized what a poor choice I had made & immediately shut everything down & sold off those things that were taking my attention away from the kids & scaled way back & got back to square one. I then sank myself into the kids & was doing all of those things they asked me to do instead of putting me first.

    Thirteen years later I ended up with awesome kids & a great relationship with them & we can have great conversations together. I hunt with my son & dance (literally) with my daughter – rather poorly I might add.

    Those things that seem so mundane or silly to an adult mean all of the difference in the world to a child. Don’t kid yourself, parking a child in front of a computer, iPad or TV is not quality time. I have a soon to be 8 year old & he never gets any electrical device while riding in my car – he must communicate or look out of the window & let his mind go free. We camp, ride bikes together, go to the library & many other things.

    Before you know it, the child becomes an adult & you cannot go back to redo their childhood.

    • Jarhead Survivor April 8, 2013, 8:09 am

      And it sounds like you’re way happier having spent that time with your kids too. I always figured you were a smart guy – this just proves it.

      Do you like readying Thoreau by any chance?


      • Jason April 8, 2013, 10:29 am

        I probably have much more courage than brains & basically have 2 speeds – 100 mph or zero, I don’t like doing things half way. When I say I got rid of the distractions, that included the money, real estate rentals, cars etc – all of the trappings.

        I know it may sound crazy but I wanted to be at ground zero & rebuild myself with a different perspective. It was tough to swallow at first but it was important to humble/break myself down so to speak because ego can be a very cruel master.

        Making money isn’t the hard part, it is stepping out & away from tradition & away from the mass of fish who all swim fearfully in the same direction. It is those opinions from others who try to reduce & drag you in to a more homogenized state that creates the most friction to freedom. Operating out of fear is the worst & most demeaning position any person can do to themselves.

        The short answer to your question about Thoreau is yes, I like his writing very much primarily because he was a true & independent & cross grain thinker. Though his position & opinion of God was vastly different to mine, does that make him any less? No, not at all – anybody can add something to your life. I have great respect for choices people make as long they are done with relative fairness & a balanced perspective.

        A quote of his that is a personal favorite is “the mass of men lead lives of quiet desperation.”

        • Yikes! April 8, 2013, 7:52 pm

          Walden? Self-indulgent drivel.

          I wanted to punch him in the face for not eating that groundhog.

          Most men don’t think enough to lead lives of quiet desperation. They live lives of quietly doing what they’re told until they’re allowed to watch TV and drink beer. I don’t hold that against them.

          If you’re living a life of quiet desperation, you clearly don’t drink enough.

          • Jason April 8, 2013, 10:59 pm

            Drinking is the pinnacle of the quiet life of desperation :-)

          • irishdutchuncle April 9, 2013, 7:56 am

            yeh, sometimes I do get loud when I drink…

          • Yikes! April 9, 2013, 9:29 am

            Spending a lot of time commenting on comments in an obscure internet chat is the pinnacle of a quiet life of desperation.

          • Jason April 9, 2013, 3:28 pm


            I’m lucky that I can type fast.

          • Yikes! April 9, 2013, 7:55 pm

            HA! we’re all in the same boat there, I’m afraid.

  • irishdutchuncle April 8, 2013, 4:39 am

    … and take lots and lots of pictures.

    our “baby” is now 27.
    years of stress have blunted my memories of his childhood. I was rarely ever there for my nieces and nephews, either. (who’ve all turned out to be great kids anyway)

    … the best-laid schemes o’ mice an’ men Gang aft agley.
    my friend Joe used to recite that line from the Burns poem. he was a
    “paleo-prepper”, from ages before it was “cool”. he was going to retire “soon”, he didn’t quite make it.

    involve your children in what you’re really about, as much as you can. we only will have the time we have.

    • Jarhead Survivor April 8, 2013, 8:09 am

      Hey Irish – what’s a paleo prepper?

      • irishdutchuncle April 8, 2013, 8:18 am

        someone who was a prepper before it had a name.

        his mother passed away when he was about eleven. he rode herd over his younger siblings, so the “authorities” wouldn’t send them all to foster care. he even had them do bugout drills, in case they needed to run away.

  • Jarhead Survivor April 8, 2013, 7:54 am

    Here’s an update. While I was making breakfast for my son this morning I heard a *thwack* come from behind me. I looked over just in time to see something scurry across the floor out of sight. Our fat lab was sitting on the floor looking at it on high alert.

    I was thinking, “What the…” when all of sudden my son’s casting fish came flying out of the living room and hit the floor by the kitchen table. I walked around the corner and looked and he was sitting there with a huge smile on his face getting ready to make his next cast.

    Guess we’ll be doing a lot of fishing this season when go camping!

    • irishdutchuncle April 8, 2013, 8:10 am

      I wonder, are there any college schollarships for tournement bass fishing?

      • Yikes! April 8, 2013, 10:09 pm

        No. I can definitively say that here are not.

  • Yikes! April 8, 2013, 11:05 am

    Kids? Right before an apocalypse? Madness!

    • Jason April 8, 2013, 11:13 am

      Your parents had you just before the apocalypse ….

      • Yikes! April 8, 2013, 7:54 pm

        You’re thinking of the Bicentennial.

        Although I see how the 70’s could be mistaken for an apocalypse.

  • Mike the Gardener April 8, 2013, 11:10 am

    Trout fishing just opened on Sunday here in NJ … took my 5 year old for the first time … he absolutely loved it … I did more time taking video and pictures of him, then I did fish for myself … he keeps telling me he wants to go back … can’t wait to take him.

  • Jason April 8, 2013, 11:11 am

    • Jarhead Survivor April 8, 2013, 11:42 am

      Damn that sun in my eyes. Had to wipe them off after staring into for a few minutes.

      • Jason April 8, 2013, 2:25 pm

        That Nebraska team has a lot of heart & has to be one of the coolest things I have ever seen & you’re right, it is a tear jerker when you look towards the sun :-)

  • Ray April 8, 2013, 11:19 am

    Hey Jarhead! If I’m the one you’r looking for on that par-cord- I’v made about 20 of ’em. My munchkin plays with ’em, and they are all over the house. So if its me please send it along to one of the city kids that don’t have any. P.S. I’d have sent you an E-mail but I have no idea what the wife changed the password to, She’s on duty at the clinic and so out of touch(except for emergency) till 20:00 .So the above.

    • Jarhead Survivor April 8, 2013, 11:42 am

      Ok, thanks Ray. I’ll pick another winner!

      • Ray April 8, 2013, 8:31 pm

        Starting at 6mo. old my kid thinks that string is the most wonderful thing on earth you can play with. She’s six now and ties knots in everything. This summer we start work on a rescue (rope) ladder. Over the winter we did a cobra knot on an old ALICE pack frame ; IN PINK (she’s a girly girl). So y’all can see how wrist-band, corded straps, belts, ECT,ECT. might be a little common around here . We also start basic archery , fish traps ,snares, ECT. this summer. She started bouncing off the walls when I got the pup tent out. It kinda neat how jazzed they get over thing we don’t think of as anything but chores


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