Chance and I got to take a special pre-Father’s Day trip to Douglas County, going on our first ever turkey hunt. We had no idea what we were in for, although we had heard hunting turkeys could be pretty intense. Little did I know that I would walk away with more important memories than simply how to hunt these critters.
First of all, let me say the trip was a blast! Chance and Grant, the other young man hunting, both filled their tags, so that was exciting! We got to experience several types of hunting; spot and stalk, blinds, calling them in. What an experience for new turkey hunters!
That first night we saw several birds, but a bringing one home was not in the cards. The next day, we woke up ready to hunt, and hunt we did. We started hiking in well before light, and didn’t finish the day until dusk. All worth it though, especially when two young men were able to carry turkeys out. Being a spectator as Chance, Jeff and Dave hiked a couple miles up a creek bottom to get on some toms we'd spotted, well, it is hard to describe. They did some stalking that I am just not very good at. When you are a 275 pound clod-hopper, it's hard to be silent. The birds started walking up a big hill just as the guys were getting close. They had to follow the birds up the hill, part way down the hill, and back and forth for a while. Chance has surpassed me in his physical abilities, and it definitely sparked some pride to see how hard he was working. He didn’t have a single bad word about it, either. Hearing the gunshot, and then seeing your son packing out his prey, that brings some great emotions over a father.
Both before and after this hunt, I got to sit back and watch the Dunn family operate. Seeing three generations of men is special for me. My grandfathers both passed when I was very young, and my dad passed before Chance was 10. Watching a grandfather question, give advice, and generally love his grandson was a special time. Without stepping on toes, Grandpa was able to make suggestions, while letting his son be the leader of the youngest. Seeing the leadership by example, rather than through bossy words, was very Biblical.
The Old Testament is filled with conversations between God and his children. Yet in the New Testament, Jesus acts as the intercessor. Let us remember how God loves us, and follow the examples Christ has laid out for us. If your father, or better yet, your grandfather is still alive, please take the time to share your love with them. Explain to them what goodness they have brought into your life. If there is tension or bad history between the two of you, at least clean up your end of the mess. Forgive, and love. If you truly do not have a relationship with your father, perhaps there is a man in your life who has filled that role. Let him know what he means to you, what he has taught you. I have let a few men into, and out of my life without sharing what they meant to me. Let us all work on sharing how much others mean to us.
Fathers, share love and wisdom with your children. Paul says in 1 Thessalonians 2, “Like a father with his children, we exhorted each one of you and encouraged each one of you and charged you to walk in a manner worthy of God.” These are good qualities we need to share with our children.
Sons, display honor and respect for your father. For the Commandments themselves tell us to “Honor your father and your mother” (Ex. 20:12). Jesus himself brings this up again in Matthew 15. He goes on to tell the Pharisees how their reasoning was NOT honoring their fathers, and they were making “Void the word of God!”
Fathers and sons, have deep appreciation for the time you spend together. Thank God daily for the relationship and opportunities you both have. Be a shining light, showing the fatherly love of our Master in Heaven to anyone you can. As I work on this myself, I challenge you to do the same. -Jared