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Thicker Than Water

Even though blood is thicker, water for outdoor families can have the same effect. From those who enjoy taking the kids out for a pontoon ride to the father whose showing his son how to fish. We all enjoy passing on the knowledge we've gained from past generations and what we picked up along the way as well. Sometimes even if a family has never done much hunting or fishing, planning a trip to experience a new activity together also brings you closer. Future generations are the ones who will sustain our resources and become passionate about conservation making memories with their own families down the road.

Memories in the field are often ones that never fade. I can still see the image of a culvert under Big Woods Rd. in Cedar Falls in 1984. My father and I were catching small bluegills in the flood water when I was only two. He made up a song that I can still hear to this day. "Jason Lee was a fine fishermen and a fine fishermen was he, he catches little fishes and says hello, blows them a kiss and lets them go." The first time I went duck hunting with my grandfather at Big Marsh and the way he passed his love on to me where it found a new place to grow. Those types of experiences for our youngsters will light flames they will carry their whole lives.

For those families who don't make the outdoors a routine stop, it never hurts to take your kids out for even a day. Even if it isn't your main passion maybe it will help them find their niche. It's relatively inexpensive to outfit yourself and a child to go fishing. Simple setups to get you started can be found at local shops like Hank's Bait and Tackle. A fishing license will cost you less than a round of golf, a little bait, and you're on your way. That single day may develop into a favorite adventure for a new growing family. When your little one reels in their first fish and you see the look on their face you'll be hooked to. Fishing can be a great place to start getting your children outside if they seem to find the couch and a video game more often than the door and a beautiful day.

When we find ourselves the type who's outside more than in bringing the kids along just comes natural. We can never forget the main goal when the kids are along however, make it FUN! Make sure they are the center of attention and the overall experience is one they enjoy. It's hard for a child to want to go to the lake if your main goal is the size and number of fish you catch rather than a positive experience. Bait the hook, cast the rod, and help them win the fight while offering praise along the way. All children enjoy making Mom or Dad proud when their young no matter the activity. If they lose that satisfaction as they get older hopefully it's not from missed opportunities to show how much you love them.
We recently welcomed the newest Eastman to the family my first son Reed Eugene. Someday before I know it he'll move away to college. I just hope I can bestow in him the same gifts my father and grandfather have given me. "I love you Dad" will be as great to hear as it is to say. I dedicate this article to my son, father Larry, and late grandfather Kenny. I love all of you.

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