WON Landing Page OCT 2022

Babbs in the Woods: On riflescopes and kids

barb-baird-out-standing-in-field2When I think of what I saw and what I heard, I still shudder. The little boy, about 10 years old, sat at a bench rest at the rifle section of the shooting range near me. He struggled to look through a scope on his rifle as his dad stood beside him. He said, “I can’t see through this, Dad. I can’t see it!” To which his dad answered, “I can see it.” Judging from the kid’s shooting, I’d say he never did see through the scope.

That prompted me to write a “how to” about looking through a riflescope and it recently was published in Turkey Country’s “Outdoor Notebook.”

Imagine that line being used in this kid’s life again and again.

Kid: “I don’t know how to work this stick shift in the truck, Dad.”

Dad: “I can do it.”

Kid: “I can’t get this fly-line back on this reel, Dad.”

Dad: “I can do it.”

Kid: “I can’t get this equation to balance, Dad.”

Dad: “I can do it.”

So, why didn’t I just be a Nosey Parker and step in and tell the boy how to see through his scope? I still wonder if maybe I should have, just because his frustration level of seeing a black hole and no target ran high. But then again, the dad involved didn’t look like he’d have the patience to deal with a Nosey Parker too well.

Sometimes, we just need to go back to understanding what it’s like to be a kid who doesn’t get it. That will help us to explain things like how to shoulder a shotgun, or how to take apart a fly rod or even, how to set up on a rifle stock so that we can actually see through the scope. Oh, and I’ll add one more thing to that … it’s OK not to “get” everything. I believe that’s where women have it easier than men in the outdoors. For some reason, American men have to prove they were born programmed how to shoot, hunt, set up a tent, etc. Maybe because most of their dads said, “I can do it [why can’t you?]” too early in their lives?

I don’t know because I just had sisters and a dad who was a football coach. We can all throw perfect spirals and shoot free-throws from the real line and paint a house and hook up a camper to a station wagon.

~Barbara Baird

Twitter: http://twitter.com/babbsbaird
Facebook: http://facebook.com/babbsthewon

  • About Barbara Baird

    Publisher/Editor Barbara Baird is a freelance writer in hunting, shooting and outdoor markets. Her bylines are found at several top hunting and shooting publications. She also is a travel writer, and you can follow her at https://www.ozarkian.com.


The Conversation

  • NorCal Cazadora says: December 7, 2009 at 10:29 am

    Wow, how sad for that little boy. There are horrible teachers everywhere, whether they’re college professors, kindergarten teachers or parents. It’s awful to watch them do their damage. I would hope, though, that the majority of them do better.

  • Randall Haley says: December 6, 2009 at 11:11 pm

    Hey Barb, no harm done and no offense taken. I know exactly what you mean and I admire your fire in all your articles. Believe me,I know you weren’t attacking American men. Like myself you wanted to just reach over and slap that guy about the ear. Please know I used the word attack with humor in my comment. Your doing good,don’t waiver a bit. Proud of you gals out there. I love duck hunting with my daughter and sometimes I forget to shoot because I get so engrossed in watching her burn that powder. Waiting for your next article.

  • Women's Outdoor News says: December 6, 2009 at 8:44 pm

    Randall, I’m not attacking American men. I have three sons and a husband I adore (31 years), for goodness’ sake. I’m saying that if it’d been a man or a woman, that’s not the right way to teach a kid to do anything! And, I think we gals have it better than you guys do … at least no one expects us to know it all when it comes to the outdoors. Hey, just listened to your new CD again … really good stuff.

  • Randall Haley says: December 6, 2009 at 6:21 pm

    Miss Barbara, I’m an American man, one of those things you’re attacking. I’m not
    going to spend a lot of time defending myself talking about my patience with my daughters and grandchildren.
    Seems like you’ve ran into an idiot that is a jerkwad to probably everybody.

  • Stacey Huston says: December 6, 2009 at 11:00 am

    Poor kid.. I am a mom of two boys and I understand frustrations of trying to teach kids, I home schooled for about 3 years.. but I also understand the joy and pride that can come from letting our kids figure it out on their own.. with guidance…
    I feel so sorry for kids these days.. too many times it is easier for parents to just do things themselves, than take the time to explain how to do it.. but the rewards last so much longer when we do.
    We raised our boys in the outdoors and our 17 yr old learned a “valuable” lesson last night.. Hawk took him and one of his friends out duck hunting.. it was cold.. really cold and windy.. both of us asked him several times before he left the house if he was dressed warm enough.. of course he was.. he is a teenager.. he is tough.. D-U-M- B.. tough (lol) I knew better and started to tell him, I saw that wall come up.. the one all parents of teenagers know well.. so I just walked away.. WELL.. they left for their trip.. and he got cold.. REALLY cold.. my husband kept asking him if he was alright and of course he said he was fine.. but by the time they finished the hunt and made it back to the truck, he realized that he had made a huge mistake.. As a mom, this scares me.. but you know.. he is 17.. we have taught him, but all too often I will notice that they aren’t dressed right and intervene .. again, he is 17.. it won’t be long and I won’t have any input at all.. I am glad this happened while my husband was there to make sure he didn’t end up hurt or in serious trouble…He knew he was cold.. but didn’t want to say anything in front of his friend.. even gave his friend his hand warmers that I made them take.. I know this sounds harsh, cuz it all could have been avoided, if I or Mike had just put our foot down, like we have many times before and MADE him put on better cloths.. but I think this lesson he learned will stay with him for the rest of his life.. rather than being the nagging mom who doesn’t know anything.. and yep, I refrained from saying “I told you so..” sometimes as parents we think we are helping our kids, when in the long run.. we aren’t helping at all..