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by Michael M. Dewitt, Jr. | Aug 21, 2020 | BIG GAME, HUNTING
Lessons Only the Outdoors Can Teach

There are lessons out there that aren’t taught in any public school classroom, lessons that only a good parent can provide. And then there are lessons that only time spent outdoors can teach us.
The Ides of August have come and gone, the fellowship of the orange cloth has again taken pursuit of the whitetail, and weary-eyed school children are boarding yellow busses to continue that lifelong journey toward education and enlightenment.
Except this year, things will be a little different: the plague is among us. Many parents are opting to educate their children at home this year, and while this presents challenges for students and parents alike, it also presents opportunities. One could argue that we have grown too accustomed to letting strangers educate our children and forgotten that life’s first and best lessons are learned at home. Fortunately, now is a golden time to take more of a hand in building the next generation into something that we can be proud of.

Sure, a parent is supposed to teach a kid how to ride a bike or drive a truck, how to shave or how to mow the lawn. Then there are the important life lessons, lessons in survival and providing for your family, lessons in manners and character and being a decent human being – all lessons that are especially important in today’s uncertain world. There are lessons out there that aren’t taught in any public school classroom, lessons that only a good parent can provide. And then there are lessons that only time spent outdoors can teach us.

As a farm child of the South Carolina Lowcountry, a lifelong outdoorsman and a father of two, I have learned a great many life lessons and tried to pass on as many of them as I could. I have prepared a syllabus of these life lessons and all-around general good advice, in no particular order. Listen up, kids. There will be a quiz afterwards – a test called life.
  • Don’t forget to put the plug in the boat.
  • Provide as much of your own food as possible. That means teaching your children to hunt, fish or trap as well as plant a garden. This not only teaches them to feed themselves, it also connects us with nature.
  • Don’t disrespect Momma.
  • The truth is always easier to remember than a lie. If you wish to lie, become a writer or a fisherman.
  • Pick up your shotgun shells before you move on. Yes, that is also a metaphor for life.
  • Use your manners.
  • Take no more from Mother Nature than you need. Think about the next generation.
  • Be nice to people you meet – a smile is infectious.
  • Clean that gun before you put it away.
  • Put the damn phone down, look around at nature, and talk to people.
  • Be optimistic. Be patient. This will serve you well in outdoor pursuits and in life.
  • Be prepared to do what you have to do to provide for your family. If that means working two or three jobs, so be it. It will help you appreciate your time off with family even more.
  • Be as independent as possible. Don’t let someone else do for you what you can do for yourself. There will come a day when you won’t have anyone to rely on.
  • Know the proper way to hand someone a knife – handle first.
  • Know how to throw a punch, know when to throw a punch, and most importantly, know when not to.
  • Take good care of your teeth.
  • Open doors for ladies.

  • Never go to work outdoors without a pocket knife and a pair of gloves.
  • If you cut a tree down, plant another one.
  • Spend as much time outdoors as possible. Few living things flourish in darkness or artificial light.
  • Clean up your own mess. Imagine what a better, cleaner planet we would inhabit if people, corporations and even nations followed this advice.
  • Hate no one, because it is wasted energy. Unless we are talking about coyotes and college football rivals.
  • Put things back where you found them, the way you found them.
  • If you break something, fix it.
  • Do not condone or engage in violence when unprovoked, but spare no violence in self defense.
  • Say “sir” to anyone older than you, and “ma’am” to pretty much every lady.
  • Know how to change a tire and change your oil. It’s okay to pay someone to do that if you have to, as long as you know how to do it when you need to.
  • Don’t kill it if you aren’t going to eat it or it ain’t trying to eat you or yours.
  • Stand up to a bully.
  • Turn the lights out when no one is in the room.
  • Sons: Respect all women. Never hit a girl. Learn to cook and clean for yourself. Daughters: Be independent and know you have just as much value as any man.
  • Keep a balanced life and a balanced checkbook. Wait, does this generation even use checkbooks anymore?
  • Learn how to tie at least three knots – and one of them better be able to hold a 10pound bass.
  • Give a firm handshake and look a man in the eye.
  • Keep your word.
  • Nothing is more important than family.
  • Start saving your money early. Make safe investments.
  • A woman is always right, even when she is incorrect.
  • A bird dog will, occasionally, lie to you. They are related to fishermen. All you can do is forgive them and love them.
  • Gun Safety 101: Keep the safety on. Never load a gun until you are ready to shoot it, never point a gun at something you don’t intend to kill, and keep in mind who and what is behind your intended target.
  • If you help bring a kid into the world, take care of it.
  • Make your kids sit at the table and eat with you.
  • Never urinate on an electric fence.
  • Read a book every now and then.
  • Laugh it off, even when it hurts.
  • Everything tastes better with gravy and hot sauce on it.
  • Never catch or kill more than your legal limit.
  • Pet a dog every chance you can. It lowers your blood pressure.
  • Did I mention checking the boat plug?

8,187 Posts
Never load a gun until you are ready to shoot it,
Unless it's a home defense gun. Those are loaded all the time. Don't mess with them.

409 Posts
I was taught all of those, and learned a few more the hard way. Uhh, wait a minute, it was my little brother that learned not to pee on the electric fence. Hee Haww! That was funny,....until he told Mom,...... I could see Dad trying not to grin.

Lordy, that was, what,............. close to 50 years ago I reckon. Yep, it was both of our first experience with 'lectric fences. But I was 2 years older & knew better. Awww, I can still see it today! Sorry little bro, I wuz just hav'n fun. :LOL:

175 Posts
Electric fence... About 45 years ago my 4 or 5 year old nephew went through the barn where I was doing maintenance on the tractor. I looked around to see where the cattle were. I told him to stay close by where I could hear him. The cattle were not near the barn. So I didn't worry about him. 5 or 10 minutes later I heard him SCREAM like the Devil himself was after the boy with flames hotter than hot. Before I could crawl out from under the tractor, he went flying through the barn like a blue flash, (he was wearing the little boy jeans with elastic in the waist). He was screaming , "It bit me, it bit me." I grabbed a shovel and went looking for snakes. I didn't find any kind of varmint.

I went into the house where was the last direction I saw him running. Mom had him in the half bath right inside the kitchen door. He was still crying so hard he could hardly breathe. Mom looked at me and said what happened? I told her he came running through the barn screaming something bit him. Mom asked him what bit him? After a few seconds of sniffing and still crying, he said, "THAT RED WIRE". I had a 10 gauge solid wire with red insulation on it running from the electric fence charger, through the barn and coming down on the outside corner where the fence comes to the corner of the barn. I told Mom what it was and she and I both hid our giggles as best as we could.

He's nearing 50 years old now. But I never miss a chance to ask him if he's been peeing on any electric fence lately?

This is the honest truth as best as I can remember it.
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