A Fathers Gift
Yesterday I got word from our Trademark Attorney, he had good news for us. We passed another checkpoint in the legal process. We received a notice of publication from the US Trademark Office. The first date of the process was 10/29/2020. That was my late fathers birthday. He’s been gone nearly 4 years. It was his guidance early in my life that really shaped who I am and what I do today. He taught me a young age to be fierce when necessary, to work hard, and to love my country. At a young age I was learning life lessons that are more valuable than ever today. I find myself sharing these life lessons with kids that we serve. I’m afraid for the next generation, but it strengthens my resolve to push forward. I feel like my father is with me at times. I do talk about him in every class when I tell the stories about these two different shotguns that I demo for the families. I mostly tell these stories to teach but, to also make them laugh and to reinforce the importance of safety.
When I was younger I had the privilege of living rurally, in fact I didn’t live in the city until I was 19. I remember vividly at a young age exploring outside. I was introduced to the shooting sports at a very young age. I got my first Daisy Red Ryder when I was 4. I was hooked, I would spend a lot of time outside, hiking and exploring with that bb gun. Life was good, life was simple. At five I was given two shotguns by my father. One was a Remington 870 Wingmaster in 28 gauge and the other was a Savage break action 20 gauge. I use both of these shotguns in every Kids Firearm Safety 1 class that I teach. The way I tell the stories about them get laughs from the crowd and teaches important safety principles. It’s also a way for me to remember my late father. When I got that email yesterday with the acceptance date of my dads birthday, it was bittersweet. I spent some time reflecting on the journey to get to this point, my final days with my dad as cancer ravaged his body while in a hospice bed in Canada. I made the trip up there frequently towards the end of his life. It was hard to watch arguably the strongest man I have ever known waste away. We spent a lot of time reminiscing on the past and current events. It was nice to catch up and to fill him about the important work that I was doing to protect children. He was proud of what we had accomplished. It felt really good to have his support. I’ll never forget when he said “Safety is never given, it is earned.” That resonated with me because of how I was trying to reinforce safety through direct action.
At a very young age I was taught safety and respect for firearms. It started a bb gun and went from there. Living rurally gave me the ability to practice whenever I wanted, the shooting sports were my escape. Just a boy with his Red Ryder carbine. It was this gift that my father shared with me at a young age that has shaped what I do today. I pay homage to those that came before me and help the kids experience this sense of freedom. Our constitutionally protected rights are under attack and it’s important our children understand the responsibility they will eventually inherit. Giving our children the gift of education is the greatest thing that we can do as parents. The republic depends on them. Teaching then safety, discipline, and respect for firearms from a very young age will help ensure that our rights will endure. Right now the biggest challenge that I see is fear and misinformation. The media, big tech, and anti gun zealots push an agenda. This is counterproductive to the safety of our communities. We must reject the rhetoric and the censorship. We have to teach our children to be strong, independent, and to use critical thinking skills. This is what I see most in our youth, kind of a herd mentality. Kids can be ruthless, we need need to teach them empathy as well. Of course as parents we have to set a good example. Our kids learn most from their environments and social media isn’t a good thing for young minds. It often can lead to self image issues, bullying, or have other negative consequences for our youth. Moderation and being present for them is critical from a young age. I know it’s hard. The costs are up the hours may be down, parents are juggling so much right now. This gives kids freedom at a younger age. This also gives predators access to your kids through technology as well.
There are a few apps that I do recommend. First is the Bark Connect app. This one gives you the ability to monitor their social media accounts. I also recommend the Facebook messenger for kids. While I do not like Facebook as a company or their business practices. The kids app has some really good features on it to help you know what they are doing and who they are communicating with. It’s also important to have expectations for their behavior while online. Be very clear on what is appropriate and what is not. They need direction. Make sure that they have the location settings turned off for their protection. I also recommend you have them put their phones up at a certain time every night. This will allow them to unplug and get a good nights rest. I have heard certain examples of when kids have access to their phones at night there have been times where they have been bullied or tormented all night. As convenient as technology is, it can be very harmful. Having a link to the past, where technology wasn’t at the forefront of our lives is important. Encourage them to get outside, to use their imaginations. Get them involved with the shooting sports. It is a great way for you all to spend time together. They can learn about traditions and be our stewards going forward into the future. Kids that are educated are less likely to hurt themselves or others. We see this firsthand and it is incredible to watch. So in closing I am thankful for the gift of shooting from my father. I’m thankful I got to share what I started to build with him before he passed. I know he is still with me, I know that he is looking down with pride. I’m thankful I get to share this experience with others. Until next time. Be Safe! This Blog post is dedicated to the memory of GW! ZERO firearm accidents is the only acceptable goal!!™