By Gary Miller
As I was loading my vehicle after a morning in the turkey woods, a truck slowly passed by. I could see it was other hunters. They slowed long enough to tell me of their successful morning. Because I wanted to hear more about it, they pulled over long enough to show me two nice gobblers each had taken. They had doubled that morning in, what they described as, a perfect hunt where both birds came in just as they had hoped. After a few more inquiries I discovered this team was one of father and son. It seems for a few years now they had punched a tag on opening morning and this was another opening day that would add to the streak.
The son looked to be a young man in his early twenties. He undoubtedly had made many other trips before with his dad. I always try to rejoice with anyone who brings the game home that he or she goes after, but it is extremely satisfying when I encounter a father and child in the woods or on the water together. I know this meeting will have benefits far beyond the trip itself and far greater than the prey that is brought home. It’s amazing how very little will be said during a hunt but how much will be gleaned from this time together. A father will silently show his love by allowing his child to pull the trigger instead of himself. The youth will see a side of his father the may otherwise never see.
These kinds of moments together will make indelible marks on a child. These are moments where the words “I love you” are fleshed out. This is when the light goes on in our boy or girl’s head and they say “Oh, that’s what love means. It means putting others first. It means sacrifice. It means wanting the best for someone else.” These are lessons that move from the head to the heart and stay there forever.
Dads, I hope your love is being fleshed out to your children in some way. I hope you understand it’s not enough to put food on the table and to simply say words of affirmation. Our children must see where they stand in our lives. They must see us giving up the things we love the most for them. If we do that they will see the right picture of God and will know by experience the kind of love He has for them as well. Then what they have learned about God with their mind will have moved to their hearts and they will understand the amazing grace of God.
Gary Miller is the author of three books that are compilations of the articles he has written for nearly 15 years. He also speaks at game dinners and men’s groups for churches and associations. He can be reached via e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.