Children…when should they travel outdoors with you?
The conversation begins like this, “I have three children, their ages are 5, 8, and 11. The 11 year old is old enough for us to take on our hunting and/or fishing trips but the 5 year old is too young. We are just going to have to wait four years until the 5 year old is old enough for all of us to go together.”
Four years later when the 5 year old is now 9 and old enough and the 11 year old is now 15, the conversation goes like this, “Our 15 year old has so many activities and the coaches don’t want him/her to miss any practice. I just don’t see how we can fit a trip to…in right now.”
Three years later the conversation goes like this, “Our 18 year old is graduating from High School this year and I really want to take him/her on that trip we have been talking about for so long.” I say fantastic! Let’s plan it. We talk about the many options available. The father goes to his child and says, lets go to… and the child says, “Dad, I just don’t see how I can go during the summer and my fall will be crazy at college. I have orientation, graduation trips with my friends, I have to pack for college and my new fraternity/sorority friends want me to come to all these parties. Let’s do it another year.” Or the conversation goes like this…Dad calls and says, I promised my son/daughter that I would take them on an elk or another big game hunt for graduation! Will you help me plan it? I say absolutely…when can you go? I tell them that big game hunts in North America are in the fall. Then the father calls me back and says, “Well, his/her fall is going to be too busy with sports and then college. I don’t see how we can make this trip happen”.
Four years later and the oldest child is now 22, the same call again, “I want to take my son/daughter on that trip we promised and now I will make it a graduation trip from college.” I say fantastic, let’s plan it! When can he/she go on the trip? Then the call back, “Well, we just don’t know when we can make this trip happen because I don’t know what his/her job situation will be like.”
And on and on it goes as your child has a job, gets engaged, gets married, and has children. Then the whole process begins again with your grandchildren.
What is the solution? When the youngest is too young, take the family on those trips that you dream about anyway! Make them “family trip addicts” while they are young! We have found that the families that start traveling in the outdoors with their children when they are “too young” are the same families that find ways to make those trips happen throughout the various stages in life. Traveling with you and your family will become a priority for your children at each stage and once they have children, the fun will continue on from generation to generation!
The moral of the story is…when your 5 year old is too young, take them all on the trip anyway! Everyone in the family will benefit!