A couple of years ago our house made an life changing decision. You know the kind of decision the neighbors and friends will question. The “what are the Olson’s thinking, have they gone mad” kind of decision. We chose to not apply for rifle tags for deer gun season that year, so we would have no excuse to not learn to waterfowl hunt. Yes, you heard me right, we gave up tenderloins for ducks.
What makes this so hard to explain is that I really should be writing a blog on confessions of a failed water fowler. Quite frankly, at the time, I stunk, no hope of ever being successful at waterfowling, stunk. My record for 30 odd years was 1 goose and maybe a dozen ducks. About 6 years ago some buddies invited Peter and I to go goose hunting on a cold, snow-covered Veterans Day and I shot my first and only goose to date. It took me 2 boxes of shells to down that first goose and I should look at it as a life-long accomplishment. But I have to live with Peter who has the ability to humble any man in his presence with what I like to think is an unequalled lucky streak. That day at age 12, Peter, with a half a box of shells got his first 5 geese. This, with the knowledge that my kills are 1 duck for every 10-12 boxes of shells that I shoot, and my wife hits everything she shoots at, is enough for most guys to hang up the decoys and stick with the tenderloins.
So you are wondering what’s up with the life changing decision; well there is something about a waterfowl blind and the conversations that happen in that blind that you just can’t replicate anywhere else. In the blind you need to be still, but not quiet, giving you time to talk about life, while allowing nature to put it all into perspective. There is a beauty to watching the sun rise over a fog covered pond with the anticipation of what is to come. Knowing you will always learn something that day that will help you make it through life.
That year’s waterfowl season was only half done but it had exceeded any expectations I could have had when our family made that life changing decision. That isn’t because I shot my second goose and 2 ducks and I was only two boxes of shells into the season. It’s been a great season because of the questions from the blind.
There were a lot of questions asked that year but the one that stuck out was, “Dad, how do kids learn about God as their Father if their dad here on earth abuses them?” I’ll let that soak in for a minute. Pretty deep questions for a 13 year old waterfowl hunter. It’s the kind of questions you get however when you’re sitting in the blind.
The questions, discussions and answers were the reason we made the life changing decision. It’s our responsibility to demonstrate for our kids all the attributes of God our heavenly father: loving, patient, kind, just, forgiving, merciful, perfect, authority and all-knowing, just to name a few. This is a responsibility that we will never be able to fulfill perfectly or even close to perfect like God does for us. But it’s our responsibility to work on our relationship with God so that we can better demonstrate for our children what God has done for us. So what about the kid who grows up in a home with the lack of this example and worse, the opposite of what God has done for us?
Scratching the surface of this question, sitting in the duck blind, we talked about the fact that we don’t always learn everything from our parents and each one of us needs to be an example of what God does for us. We need to hold true to what our heavenly Father teaches us in the Bible and work on our relationship with Him daily. So that through us as parents, friends, coworkers, customers or just somebody a person runs into on the street, people see an example of the attributes of God.
The questions from the blind are the questions that help us grow. The questions from the blind are the questions to help us learn what it means to change the world. They are worth questions that are worth giving up deer hunting for…well, for at least a year or two.
Original Published in Oct 2017
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