Wednesday, November 16, 2005

Deer Hunting Advice from Li'l Tikes

By L.A. Kohl
November 10, 2005

(published in the Wed., Nov. 16, 2005 edition of the "Bullseye")My husband decided to rise early and head out to do a little bow hunting a few days ago. It got him in the mood for the fast approaching gun deer season, and gave him a story to tell at breakfast that morning. The kids love it when he comes back from deer hunting with stories to tell…more often than not, that’s all he comes back with, so he has to make the most of it!

On this particular morning, our two, four and six year old children had lots of counsel and ideas for the next time he decides to go out deer hunting. I thought perhaps all of you avid hunters out there might appreciate their advice – especially since it’s probably more unique than anything you’ll get from a deer hunting video, or a seasoned deer hunter.

First and foremost; “do not let the deers poke you." That could get messy, and would not be any fun.

“Don’t shoot the little ones.” Yes, my kids have seen Bambi, and the last thing you should ever do is go out there and shoot something that looks like Bambi.

“Don’t step on the leaves.” Wow, my husband wishes he could follow this advice, but when you live in the woods, it’s just not an option.

“Shoot the freaky bears and dragons” instead. This was my two year olds advice. He’s a boy, and I suppose shooting deer just doesn’t seem quite adventuresome enough to him…freaky bears and dragons sounded much more worthy of pursuing.

Pray about it. After Nate finished with his near miss stories and we were ready to eat breakfast, our six year old closed her prayer before the meal with this…“and please let dad get better at shooting deers, amen."

This next advice also came from the six year old, who greatly admires her big sister’s ability to make her own bow and arrows from sticks and yarn. She suggested placing this big sister with her self-made bow and arrow on the other side of the deer, and then if dad missed, she could probably get it with her stick arrow. After all, SHE is very good with her bow and arrow. If, per chance, she does miss, she’ll scare the deer in dad’s direction.

Here was a good one - “just run fast after the deer." Makes sense, doesn’t it? If that deer runs away from you, just go run after it.

This final word of wisdom came from the four year old, “you just really need a wise dog…one that can smell antlers” would be best.

That was about the extent of their advice. So, if you haven’t had much luck yet during this deer season, maybe you just need to practice your running abilities, get a wise, antler smellin’ dog, and brush up on your prayers.

Wednesday, November 09, 2005

From Both Sides of the Schooling Issue

By Rachel Kohl
October 29, 2005
(published in the Wed., Nov. 9, 2005 edition of the "Bullseye")

This week I thought I’d let my eldest do the writing…kind of an “insider” look at the homeschool issue. She wrote this as a report for a college level English class she is enrolled in. She’s now a senior in public school, having started there at the beginning of her junior year. Here’s a condensed version of her “view” of both schooling options.On the surface home school and public school are very similar, as both are designed to educate young people. However, in my experience, they concentrate on two different aspects of that education. My home school experience was very academically focused. Any social skills I gained were learned solely from family and a few church friends. I was allowed to stay inside of my comfort zone. I always felt loved and appreciated. Although I received a wonderful education while home schooled, a person cannot make it exclusively on brains in the real world. I felt that public school was a step I had to take in order to grow socially, but the first weeks of public school I felt lonely, and nervous.

The night before I started kindergarten I was so excited that I could hardly sleep. I was the oldest in my family, and thus the first one who got to start doing real schoolwork out of real school books. When I jumped out of bed that first morning, I was bright-eyed and eager to start the day. I savored the first lesson in each subject. I strove to make the best letters that I possibly could in my handwriting book. I enjoyed writing the first answers on the crisp, shiny pages of my math book. I was allowed to work at my own pace and in my own way as long as I could show I was actually learning. I finished my work by noon with the satisfaction of gaining knowledge and completing my work. The rest of the day was mine to spend as I chose, and much of that time was spent outdoors. My sisters and I were free to learn from and enjoy creation, in a loving and safe environment.

The night before I started public school my head throbbed with questions. What if no one talks to me? What if I get lost? What if a teacher yells at me? What if I have to sit by myself at lunch? I felt silly for worrying so much. After all, I would be a junior in high school, but I might as well have been heading off to my first day of kindergarten. I didn’t know what to expect and I dreaded the unexpected. At 6:00 a.m. I finally got out of bed. Even though I had slept little during the night, I was wide awake. I noticed as I got ready for school that my hands were actually shaking. After some last minute encouragement from my parents, I got in my car and drove to school. As I walked into the building it was like I had walked onto another planet. Everything was so foreign. I found my locker and wanted to crawl inside of it. I think the day got a little better as it went on. Looking back now I really can’t remember many details; I think I actually experienced culture shock.

The differences between my home school and public school experiences began to surface those first days. The first day of home school I began to learn how to learn. I learned how to study, how to focus, and how to be self-motivated. At public school I learned additional skills. I learned how to function in the real world. I learned when to stand up for what I believe and when I should just let it go. I learned to not be so judgmental. Home school taught me a lot of academic skills, but public school stretched me and forced me to expand socially in order to thrive.

Wednesday, November 02, 2005

The "Whole-Hearted" Approach to Life

By L.A. Kohl
October 26, 2005
(published in the Nov. 2, 2005 edition of the "BullsEye")
Have you ever noticed that some people put their whole “self” into whatever they’re doing? Sports are where they often reveal themselves. Those little ones on the tee-ball league, who approach the tee with a look of determination, intense eyes barely visible under the brim of an oversized ball cap. They slug the ball, drop the bat in a flash and make a mad dash for first base. When and if they make it around to home, they usually make a flying dive for the base, even if the ball is nowhere near home.

We have a daughter who is one of those “whole-hearted” types of people. I’ll never forget one of her first tee-ball games. The coach put her in the shortstop position – but she was unsure of where that really was. He promptly went out and drew a line in the dirt with his foot, trying to show her the approximate location. She took it to heart. That entire inning, her little feet barely left that line. You could just see her intense concentration as she strove to keep her feet perched right on it. A ball would head her direction, and her immediate response would be to start after it, but then – oops – she remembered…her place was on that line. The coach straightened her out before the next inning (and probably got rid of the line!), but we enjoyed her absorption regarding a simple line in the dirt.

She’s now sixteen and long past tee-ball, but her whole-hearted approach hasn’t changed.

She just finished her second season of volleyball with a small Columbia team. She no longer concentrates on a specific place on the ground…now it’s “go for the ball," no matter what.
She wore knee pads, like all volleyball players do, but I thought she desperately needed elbow pads as well. She would hear nothing of the sort. You should have seen the girl’s elbows for those two months of the season! They were black and blue most of the time, because she continually dove after the ball if it came anywhere near her. It mattered not that she was hitting the floor two or three times more often than most of the other players. All that mattered was that she was going to try with all her might to keep that ball up in the air. We all enjoyed her “spunk," but her poor elbows took the brunt of those floor diving assaults.

She comes by this “whole-hearted” approach naturally – but not from me I’m afraid. I’m the type that would rather sit back and watch the other people who are putting their whole self into something. Her father, on the other hand, approaches life with an attitude of, “give it all you’ve got."

This week, however, he really outdid himself. He was watching video footage that he had taken while a friend was driving. It was while the two of them were down in Mississippi helping with the Katrina disaster relief. On their way home, as they drove through the heart of some of the worst destruction, he filmed a great deal of footage. Well, this week he had the opportunity to watch what he had filmed…some of it at high-speed as he fast-forwarded through the parts that got rather boring.

Guess what happened? He got extremely car sick! He had to take some pain medicine and go straight to bed. I’ve never seen him so car sick. I felt sorry for him, but I couldn’t help chuckling about the whole thing. He’s the only person I’ve ever known who watched a video so intensely that he got car sick without ever leaving home!