Easter Sunday we did something we haven’t done in months.
We went to church.
Real church. As in the building with other (mostly mask-wearing) churchgoers. We didn’t sit close, we didn’t shake hands, but celebrating Easter wasn’t even an option here last year.
Realizing it’s not entirely in vogue to talk about faith, I’m going to make this single statement: after a long time in isolation due to the pandemic, a single service identified- and healed - a hole I didn’t even realize had opened inside me.
Extended time away from people had starved the hard-wired part of me that needs like-minded socialization outside my immediate family.
Imagine that kind of emptiness if you’re a child. It’s real. It exists all around us. You won’t need too- look far or too-hard to find a child that’s growing up with a single parent. That parent may be so busy trying to make ends meet that they have no choice but to sacrifice time with their children in order to feed, clothe and house them.
That economic reality’s one reason many single-parent kids are susceptible to negative outside influences.
When someone lacks the familial connection to take them positive places (think the outdoors) their insides hunger for connection. That hunger makes them susceptible to other less positive influences.
If, however, they discover the outdoors, that perspective changes. They begin to see everything, including life and life choices, more clearly.
As I’ve written before, the outside is good for your inside.
That’s why we’re happy to help spread the word about a new movement created with the goal of helping parents and mentors introduce children to the outdoors. To replace those negative influences with positive role models.
Raise Them Right is a movement to bring outdoor leaders, individuals, and businesses together to invest in our collective future - the children of today.
We all know that if we lose this next generation, everything as we know it will change. Not for the better.
We’re already seeing the costs of the erosion of core values like respect for others, honor, civic responsibility, stewardship, and service for others. Today, young people are adrift.
Lacking core principles, they wander from one hot trend to the next, without giving much thought to where they are ultimately heading. It also makes them very susceptible to the many negative influences surrounding many of them.
Raise Them Right is a national movement with a single focus: helping children overcome their personal challenges, whatever they might be.
The goal is to help parents be more impactful, to introduce mentors where they are needed, and create healthy and meaningful lifestyles by tapping into our nation’s natural bounty and our outdoor heritage.
I first learned about Raise Them Right when a friend tipped me off to what John Smithbaker, former CEO of Brunton’s and the founder of Fathers in the Field was planning. I was intrigued during a Zoom conversation with Smithbaker when he shared his dream that someday there would be no need for organizations like this.
My conversation with Smithbaker convinced me Raise Them Right was something we should share with readers. I’m fortunate to watch my grandchildren grow up with parents and two sets of grandparents who are happily involved and engaged in their lives.
Not every child has that kind of family.
But every child deserves someone to teach them about things that really matter.
Raise Them Right requires nothing more than a willingness to share things that matter with little people who might think they don’t matter.
The little things we do today can have a huge influence on tomorrow.
To me, that’s not a small thing.
As always, we’ll keep you posted.
— Jim Shepherd