My upstairs living room has a vast assortment of dolls.
The garage has a decent collection of decoys.
Disney character dresses — Cinderella, Elsa, Belle and more — line my daughter’s closet.
And I have an obsession with buying Rapalas for fishing.
With the gender of your child, you’re dealt what you’re dealt — and for me, that’s absolutely not a complaint. We have two beautiful girls, ages 5 and 1, who keep life interesting each and every day.
Our oldest, Grace, at least right now, is a girly-girl. She loves dancing, going to gymnastics, watching “Sofia the First,” and, of course, playing with her dolls.
Who knows what interests her little sister will have as she grows up?
As parents, we all hope to influence our kids with our hobbies and enjoyments. Before they can talk, we dress them with little shirts sporting professional teams that we support. They don’t have a choice, and pretty soon our little one is the No. 1 Twins fan crawling on the floor while the game is on TV.
As a father of two girls, I may have a bit of a hurdle influencing them with my outdoors obsessions. But, like with all good things (especially hunting and fishing), it’ll take patience. It just cannot be forced.
The timing of this topic is because the best time of the year is creeping closer. August is winding down, Labor Day is near and fall is within sight. The long-term forecast shows morning lows in the mid-50s. It’s time to open our windows at bedtime, folks.
Fall fishing can be phenomenal. South Dakota’s lakes and rivers offer some outstanding scenery to introduce kids to the sport. It was two years ago, Grace, then 3 years old, rode to Chamberlain and helped reel in walleyes with my wife and me. She was first on a boat when she was younger than 2 months old.
Hunting South Dakota’s prairies and fields is second to none. We have amazing farmers who are approachable and many allow access, even more so when kids are involved, by simply asking for permission to hunt.
One tradition my family has is to take a picture each year on duck opener, following the morning’s hunt, on the tailgate of my truck with my girls and the harvested birds. For those who don’t remember from a previous column, this proud dad is happy to remind you that Grace’s first word was “duck.”
She also loves eating fish, is interested in watching me fillet our catch, and earlier this year, she (mostly) reeled in a small northern on Pickerel Lake in northeastern South Dakota during a camping trip.
Judging by the smiles when she is involved, I think we’re taking the right approach to slowly introducing her to these outdoor adventures. I worry about burning her out on fishing trips in the future. When it’s nothing for me to spend a full day on the water, it’ll be important to leave when she says she’s done as she gets older.
I’m interested in stories that fathers have in how they introduced their daughters to the field or fishing. Knowledge is power, and if I can pick up any tidbits of information on what worked best for someone else, I’m all ears.
These are my kids and I want to spend a bunch of time with them as they grow. Getting girls hooked on the outdoors is a little more tricky than with boys, I’m guessing.
I’m happy to play Barbies and watch “Frozen.”
But I have a garage full of fishing tackle and decoys. They need to get played with, too.