Parents Need To Teach By Example
Published: May 5th, 2016
By: Josh Sheldon

Parents need to teach by example

Every once in a while you see something that really burns you and you just have to say something about it. On other occasions you just bite your lip no matter how hard it is.

As someone that spends most of my free time in wild places, it really ticks me off to see others make it less wild. There’s garbage everywhere and it’s getting worse every year that goes by. I can’t go anywhere without finding garbage that someone was too lazy or disrespectful to carry out. I got to see firsthand the other day how this is becoming worse by the year. There are plenty of groups that involve themselves with the outdoors and leave nothing behind. The Bullthistle Hiking Club is at the top of the list locally. They are out there on a regular basis enjoying the outdoors and restoring it to its original beauty. Groups such as this are important because they can pass on the respect to others that their parents didn’t.

I hope everyone had a good first day of spring turkey season. It’s likely that most skipped out because of the rain, but I did see a few people had gotten out and had some success. I was one of those fair weather hunters and didn’t get out until Tuesday. I just can’t stand getting wet and like cleaning a wet turkey even less. There’s just something about that wet dog smell they have when soaked, that grosses me out and the dang feathers stick all over you. For this reason, I prefer dry days and birds. If you did get out, I bet you saw some random junk left behind by someone. I can pretty much guarantee you did if you were on state land. It’s getting pretty bad and I feel poor parenting is a big part of the problem.

On Sunday, I was out on a walk with my love and had one of those bite your lip moments. We were walking and as we were coming up to an intersection a young mother and her two little girls crossed the road and proceeded ahead of us. They were briefly blocked from our site by a house and when we came around the corner the mother had let her girls throw their drink cups on the ground and just kept walking. I wanted to chew her up and spit her out in front of her kids, but felt it may make them think wrongly about people that respect the environment. I wanted to ask her what it felt like to raise children with no respect for the environment and what gave her the right to raise them that way. I expect the only answer is “Stupid is as stupid does,” and she is helping older people prove how lost the majority of kids are today. Trust me, if I see her alone, she will get a piece of my mind like it or not. The only way to reeducate these children is through actual outdoor involvement and role models that teach the importance of a clean environment and how many animals die annually due to ingesting or being trapped in refuse.

The Bullthistle Hiking Club is one such group that takes the cake on this topic. They practice tread-lightly tactics and commonly remove debris left behind by others on trails and parking areas. The group will be holding a special program this year that I think many will enjoy. Starting May 14th and ending in September, the opportunity is there to get involved in hiking and possibly walk the entire Finger Lake Trail in Chenango County. They will be setting out every 2nd and 4th Saturday of the month and the entire program will have you traversing 72 miles of beautiful trails. The group is incredibly friendly and informative. They enjoy new members and make you feel at home right away. I highly recommend joining them if you would like to get outdoors more and may be a bit apprehensive because you may fear getting lost. They will make sure you get back to your vehicle and the whole group only moves as fast as its slowest member, so there is no worry of being left behind. In addition to this program, the group meets every Sunday, most Saturdays and at least two Thursdays a month. Once you are a member, they will inform you when and where to meet, which is always an easy place in town to find, then the group travels together to the hiking location.

Take my word for it, the group is composed of some awesome people with mountains of knowledge pertaining to many topics. The conversations had while hiking are worth the experience alone, yet you also get to enjoy the beauty of wild places. For more information on the group, go to or join their Facebook page.

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Good wishes and remember to take out what you bring in and sometimes more, to set a good example for the youth of today.