I’m taking a step away from the normal social media bit today to share some joy I recently experienced. Last weekend, as I was working on the house putting up some trim, I heard my 3-year-old son, Wyatt, playing with his toy guns. This isn’t anything too out of the ordinary, but I thought I’d stop for a bit and listen to what he was actually doing.
As I sat and listened, I started to notice a theme to his play—he was hunting. In the past I’ve done a little bit of pretend hunting with my boys; I’m always talking about deer and turkeys, and as of late, Wyatt seems to be obsessed with wolves. Yeah, they’ve pretend hunted before, but nothing quite like this.
OK, back to the story. At this point I wanted to take a peek and see what he was actually doing. When I poked my head around the corner I saw a laundry basket with two guns and an empty boot box. I watched as Wyatt peeked into the kitchen and calmly said, “There’s a bear.” Then he pulled his gun out of his laundry basket and proceeded to crouch down ever so slightly. Subsequently, he pulled the trigger three or four times and loudly said, “I got 'em.”
Next, Wyatt walked into our living room and said, “Oh, there’s a deer,” and started going through the same routine as before. This time, however, after he shot the imaginary deer, Wyatt quickly opened his boot box, ran over to where his imaginary deer lay on the ground and barked, “I have to get the meat, quick!"
By this time I was filled with complete and total elation, and so proud of my oldest son. I sat and listened for a few more minutes as Wyatt’s hunting escapades went on. I wanted to run up to him and give him a hug, but I thought it was better to let him keep playing.
I quickly became engulfed in my work and happily listened to Wyatt. Shortly after I got back into working, my 2-year-old son, Nolan, woke up from his nap. As always, Nolan wanted to do and have the same things as Wyatt. Hurriedly, my wife Amber and I scrambled to get a laundry basket and an empty box for Nolan; Wyatt was kind enough to loan him his extra gun.
For roughly another 20 minutes the boys pretended to hunt, but now both of them shot at each of the made-up critters they encountered. When their hunt was all said and done, I asked Wyatt and Nolan what they had bagged. Wyatt’s response was: five deer, two bears, three wolves, three coyotes and two turkeys. Nolan said “lots.” If I ever have a hunt go as well as theirs, I’ll be the happiest hunter alive ... wait, I am. Here’s to hoping and being a proud Dad of two young boys.
How have you introduced children to the outdoors? Share your comments below.