I am fortunate to have a life that many people would envy. I look at children today and wonder what their world is like and wonder if they will ever experience the numerous things that I have. The things that I have experienced are priceless and have helped make me the person (for better or worse), that I am today.
I have climbed Everest countless times. I have guided war refugees through jungles on their way to freedom. I have rafted down raging rivers full of man eating crocodiles and hippos. I have hopped from rock to rock to avoid burning myself on hot lava. I experienced all of these things by the time I was 12 years old.
I grew up in a town called Riverton, before it was the trendy place that people wanted to move to in hopes of impressing friends and in-laws. We lived on an acre of land that had large piles of dirt left over from the digging of our basement. During the summer these hills became Everest, and the surrounding weeds that would grow to 4 feet tall became mysterious jungles full of danger. When summer arrived and school was out this was my playground. My summer days would always begin as soon as I had finished breakfast and they didn’t end until my mother called us home as the sun was going down.
As I child I have fallen out of so many trees, I have been hurt countless times. We lived next to an irrigation ditch that flowed with water on a daily basis. Almost every person I grew up with, experienced the same type of childhood. We lived life without fear, without video games, without restriction and we still turned out OK. If a young boy or girl played inside, he was considered weird or diseased. Today in most places if kids are playing outside or don’t have their parents present they are considered trouble makers and their parents are considered negligent.
As I grew older, I left the outdoors and became a DJ. As a DJ I really enjoyed the single life and it planted the anti-children seeds in my life. Several years later I would rediscover the outdoors. I learned lots of things about life, I learned lots of things about myself and became a better person. I found myself in the outdoors.
I lived a life that never wanted to have kids and in 2009 the worst thing that could ever happen to me was having a child. But things happen. Mistakes are made and as a soon to be father, I handled it poorly. My life was crashing down, like a summer day the sun was setting and I never thought it would rise. I didn’t want to change my carefree life and I am ashamed to say “I didn’t want my daughter”. Then I met her.
At some point in the first year of her life, I realized that a daughter was the best thing that ever happened to me. I have no control over how intelligent (educated yes, intelligent no) I could become. I have no control over how attractive or rich I am. I could control what type of parent I am and that little alien staring back and me and smiling when I entered the room, was going to have the best father I could be.
Due to a series of God inspired events and fortunes, I found myself having access to my daughter 5 days a week. I invested in a play tent, jogging stroller and hiking backpack. With those investments, my quest to raise a little lady began in the form of Outdoor Daddy. This is the second installment of this site and there will be flashbacks to the past and content that was lost from the first one. I hope you, as a father, find inspiration in this site.
I hope if you are a father you fight for your equal access to your child. I hope that you make the sacrifices to give the child the best life emotionally, socially, intellectually, spiritually and physically. When you are gone they won’t remember the money, or the cartoons, they will remember the time you spent with them. Don’t let the TV babysit them, don’t buy them video games, give them your time.