By Mike Willis
Thanksgiving! It is incredible how this one word provokes so many thoughts in the mind of an outdoorsman.
There are countless reasons to be excited about one of the most celebrated American holidays. Great food and mediocre company are the standards among households nationwide. Add in a little bit of hunting, and you have yourself the perfect long weekend!
For those of us with little ones at home, don’t forget to slow down and make some lasting memories for everyone. All season long we relentlessly pursue big game. Sometimes we do this with little reward for our efforts.
Like a dog bred to hunt, we keep our noses down on the trail of fleeting opportunities. While our passionate pursuits are often life-giving, we can quickly lose our bearing along the way.
Each year I start Thanksgiving the same way. I usually schedule as much as possible in each moment leading up to the “big meal” and each moment immediately thereafter.
I find it funny how much I resist anything that makes me slow down. This is especially true since these are the very times that have provided me with the most fulfilling experiences and meaningful memories.
Just this past weekend, I abandoned my plan to tip over a monster muley buck and exchanged it for the opportunity to go camping with my 5-year-old son, Joshua. During our trip, we looked for deer, checked trail cameras, shot the BB gun, and went hiking.
It was a sight to behold, seeing my little boy walk a little taller that day!
The pictures, memories, and pure joy that we came home with substantially outweighed anything that could have resulted from a successful solo hunt.
I knew that my son needed this investment of time from me. What I didn’t realize was that I needed it even more. A stroll through the woods with your little man-cub is far more therapeutic than the greatest of achievements combined.
Thanksgiving is the perfect time to step back and dial things down a couple of notches. While my kids may be too young to go on an expedition hunt, their appreciation of the outdoors and enthusiasm for the journey remains unhindered.
This Thanksgiving, GIVE some of your time to those who value it the most. Make their memories of the day something that they will reflect upon for years to come. Take this time to inspire little minds to explore the world in the way that you have come to love it.
Rather than seeing life through the LED pixelated lens of our society, let them see the high-definition beauty that has captivated you for years.
This Thanksgiving be intentional about taking a break and making memories with your family. Bring them along on a family deer hunt and maybe cut that Christmas tree along the way.
After giving this gift this holiday season, you may find yourself being the one truly blessed by the experience (especially when they grow big enough to help you pack meat out of the woods!).