Outdoor Corner: Investments

Lyle Johnson

Investments! Kind of a scary word right now, isn’t it. With the problems in our economy and the uneasiness in the stock market, the word investment has different meanings for all of us. If you’re nearing retirement and your dreams have taken a hit financially, you might wonder if it was worth it at all.

If you’re about halfway there, your thought process might be one that wonders whether to pull out, put in or get on the sidelines. If you’re just starting out, you might not know exactly just what to do.

Do I think it’s worth it? big time! My grandson Canaan with his first squirrel he ever killed.

Investment is a good word though, and should be part of our life strategy. It means putting something somewhere, hoping for a return greater than and longer lasting that what you put in. Investments are not a sure thing, especially in the monetary realm.

Investing in the financial game can be rewarding, but money and business is not the only thing we could or should invest in. Investment always takes time but mostly it takes sacrifice. There is one investment that will always pay off big time. That investment would be time; time well spent with our youth, especially if you have children.

In the financial realm, we give some of our money, which is earned with the time we work. That money goes to someone to allocate those finances that will hopefully end up to be worth much more than we put into the funds.

In many of the articles written through the years, I have spoken about the times in my youth when men in my life took me hunting or fishing. My dad spent much time with his six boys in the outdoors that paid great dividends later in his life and even after his death.

My grandson Canaan with a really big bass he caught in a pond.

This means one thing; parents and adults should be taking an interest in passing on the hunting and fishing traditions that those before us did for us. This is very encouraging to me as the times we live in are somewhat perilous.

We are talking about the outdoors here, but the most important aspect is not so much what we do with our kids. The most important thing in this equation is the time spent doing it.

Our lives are made up of time. We all have 24 hours of it every day and we choose how we want to spend it. There is something else we spend; money. It’s a good thing if we choose to spend it wisely and it’s pretty important for us to have some of it to sustain our lives.

As important as it is, money is temporal. It comes and it goes. It’s gained, spent and soon forgotten, especially what is spent on our kids. It’s not that important to them in the long run.

Time is eternal; it never goes away, even what is spent already. Our time is our life, and it’s very valuable, much more valuable than our money, and kids relish it when we spend it on them.

I remember nearly every minute of the time my dad spent with me fishing or hunting. The memories just won’t fade away. I also remember the time spent with my kids and grandkids and I’m sure they remember those times as well. It will take a little money to spend a little time with our young folks, but it won’t be the money we spent that they will remember.

We can also invest in their future with our finances as well, and that's probably something we need to do. But the best thing we can invest in them is our time as well. Take a little of it and spend it on them.

I can still see that wooden flat with a 7.5hp Evinrude heading down the 21” canal with a baby “Lucky 13” tied on the end of my line. I can see it hitting the water in the corner of the many sloughs, then the “chug, chug,” then the explosion of a bass trying to engulf that bait. My dad took us hunting, camping, crabbing, frogging and all sorts of things in the outdoor arena. He taught us how to take care of the outdoors he so enjoyed.

Daddy and every other adult that spent time with kids, taking them in the outdoors, did it sacrificing their time and efforts. He had to wake us up when we didn’t really want to get up.  He had to fix our lunch and make sure we had everything we needed.

He had to paddle the boat. (yep, no trolling motor back then) Tie on all our baits, unhook every fish we caught (if we were fortunate) and unhang every bait we threw in the top of a tree. He had to take time to explain just how to work the bait correctly.

He did all of that and more at his expense of his time. He caught way less fish than he could have because he didn’t get in very many quality casts tending to us. Although we witnessed it some of the time, I can’t imagine the level of frustration he experienced taking us six boys fishing.

Was it worth it? You bet. You see the dividends are still coming. My dad is gone now but the time he invested with his children is still collecting interest. The memories are priceless, and I can relive them any time I want to. But the best thing is that I have taken what he invested in me and have invested it in my children and now am doing the same in my grandchildren.

We will have many opportunities in life to do things with our kids. Many of them will be things that we may not particularly care to do. But just like it takes sacrifice to invest some of our money for our long-term financial future; we must sacrifice our time for the good of our youth. This is a sacrifice that will always pay off in spades.

So until next time, remember to keep the slack out and set the hook hard. Have fun in the outdoors, be safe and may God truly bless you! Bring a kid fishing or hunting!