But even without catching any fish, I had a splendid time. As we fished, we chatted and laughed about all sorts of things. It was just good to spend time together.
But of all the things we talked about, one sticks out. He reminded me that it was 29 years ago this November 23rd that he was sitting with me in a deer stand when I shot an eight point white tail buck. At the time, he was only four years old. We laughed as we reminisced together. I can still recall how he looked at me with big bright eyes and whispered, “You shot that deer!” I will always cherish that memory.
But what he said next to me earlier today will also be long remembered. He said, “Daddy, one year from now, my oldest son will be four years old. So, do not make any plans on November 23, 2023. On that day, you, I, and he will all be in the woods together; and I intend to harvest a buck with him at my side!”
I hope we get to go. And I hope he is successful in his quest, not just so he can harvest a deer, but so he can make a memory with his own son even as I did with him. Obviously, such memories stay with a child for his or her entire life.
I have harvested dozens of whitetails over the years, so many so that I have forgotten the details of most of the hunts. And in truth, other than the antlers (which hang in my grandson’s room to this day), little is left of that particular buck or that particular hunt. But apparently the memory made so long ago on that day has not faded. My hope is that it never will.
All of this has served to remind me of just how significant a father’s role is in the life of his children. I am glad that I was able to raise my sons to spend time in the woods. As the bumper sticker says, “Boys who like to hunt and fish don’t grow up to mug old ladies!”
But more to the point, I am glad that we got to spend time together on all these occasions. For this reason, their memories of these special times will always include me. For that blessing, I am grateful.
Yet, an even greater blessing comes from knowing that they each now intend to duplicate that deed. The fact that both of my sons are now intent on spending time in outdoor activities with their own sons proves that my time with them in such pursuits was not wasted.
In the New Testament Gospel of John (chapter 5, verse 19), Jesus makes the following statement regarding His own relationship with the Heavenly Father: “I tell you the truth, the Son can do nothing by himself. He does only what he sees the Father doing. Whatever the Father does, the Son also does.”
What is true in Heaven is true on earth. The father always sets the example for the son. The son always follows the example of the father. Given this simple principle, I hope I have set a worthy example for my two sons. Moreover, I hope that I always will.
And if part of the reward for this is seeing them do the same for their sons in turn, then I will be both honored and delighted as a result!
SCRIPTURE SOURCE: https://biblehub.com/john/5-19.htm.