KRISTINA BEERS: Forming virtues, two weeks at a time

Last weekend saw the grand opening of what I would describe as living on weapons testing facility grounds, otherwise known as firearm deer season.

We are lucky enough to have 100+ acres for the boys to stretch their legs. For the majority of the year, it’s a wooded playland built for curious men. 

During these few weeks, however, one dare not tread past the driveway without bright orange. All this is quite alright with me, as my freezer becomes delightfully full, we munch on homemade jerky, and my darling husband thoughtfully puts a tarp across my side of the garage since while I’ll cook venison for my love, I don’t want to have to see the process. (Yes, I’m that kinda girly.)

Having lots of boys who grew up hunting with dad, grandpa and uncle, our boys prepare for this time of year with glee. I don’t know about your households, but here is a synopsis of what I observe:

For 50 weeks out of the year, my man/boys lumber out of bed 10 to 15 min late for ... well, mostly anything. If he can sleep in? See you at 11:30 a.m. folks! I’ll be honest, it’s not all five of them all 50 weeks, but I can put cash in the bank reliably if I bet on a rotation of one at any given time.

During those 50 weeks, it’s a myriad of sleepy faces, mussed hair, wrinkled clothes and if you come in the winter, cozy blankets shed by the door at the very last moment before exiting. Snooze buttons make their music every seven minutes and arguments about whose turn it is in the shower waft up through the vents at the latest possible time.

But, for two glorious weeks, each one wakes before the alarm even has a chance to go off. The shower is going, clothes are laid out and not only does he have time to eat, he makes hot cocoa in a thermos. I have seen boys pop around the corner wide awake with smiles on their faces. It’s incredible, really, and causes me to ponder in fascination.

I know this time of formation is particularly important. Patience, fortitude and self-control are virtues every parent would want to see cultivating in their children. I am pleased to observe these and more growing in each boy throughout the year; to see all of them at once, though fleeting, is a joy. I thrill a little each time I hear the rustling in the kitchen, the boiling water, the camaraderie that lasts a bit longer after the season is over.

And that’s the foundation of what we do here in this piece of paradise, you and I who enjoy forming a love of the outdoors, no matter whether it’s hunting, fishing, biking, sketching or simply gazing. We are forming people who find a purpose, solid in virtues as they go and transform the world.

Kristina Beers lives in the Remus area with her husband and five sons. She shares her thoughts on parenting teenagers and young adults on the first and third Saturdays of each month on the Herald Review’s Family and Friends page.