John's Journal...


Make the Most of Your Time

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.

The only sound you can hear is the constant humming of the tires as they glide across the uneven pavement on the rural highway. The older man in the passenger seat snores softly as he drifts off to dream after a long weekend outdoors. He's tired from trying to keep up with his son. They've had another successful hunt - not in the amount or the size of the game taken, but in the fellowship shared and the life lessons learned and taught. As I glance over at my father, I think back to the Click to enlargetimes we've spent together in the outdoors, and the lessons I've learned while afield and the stories we've told. The older I get, the more I realize the underlying genius of the outdoor parenting my father has done in a subtle, non-threatening way. Dad has used key conversations and special outdoor experiences to teach me about life and navigate me through some of life’s biggest pitfalls. I've spent most of my 31 years in the woods or on the water, often with my dad. But I've received much more than an outdoor education. My father has used these adventures to guarantee time with me to talk about life, love and morality. Here are some of his strategies that have helped shape me.

In today's society, parents and children often have a hard time connecting and finding time for each other. Tied down by stressful jobs with bills to pay and extra-curricular activities, parents and children often spend little quality time together. If time is fleeting, whyClick to enlarge don't we take advantage of it when we can? For me, that extra time meant hunting or fishing with my father. I always knew a hunting or fishing trip in my youth would involve two things: lots of fun in the outdoors and extended time in the car, the woods, or on a boat to talk about the issues in my life with my dad. I knew we'd be headed out on an adventure when he sent me to school with an excuse explaining what a "Phillips' Family Enrichment" day was. This excuse was to inform my teachers that I'd be absent from school for a few days to pursue an outdoor education. This occurrence didn't happen too frequently, but sometimes my father thought I’d learn more from him in the outdoors than in a classroom, as long as I kept my grades up. He knew an outdoor outing gave him guaranteed time to talk to me about my life and future. Too, I could open up to him, knowing what we talked about would be kept a secret.

Click to enlargeThese outdoor adventures taught me about having self-discipline, respecting nature, selecting the right college and making a good career choice. My dad shared with me his views on marriage, sex, and the attributes of being a good parent. These conversations were vital to my development as an adult and helped me form my own ideas for one-day parenting and the outdoors. To get the chance to talk and discuss all these important things, we simply had to sacrifice some 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 1