Today I would like to make us all think about a few things that are important to me. In life, we don’t really get to “keep” anything. We are here for a while and then we are gone. If we don’t intentionally invest time and effort into passing along the things we know and believe to those who come after us, those things will disappear with us. All of our stuff and all the knowledge we accumulate over time dwells with us until it is someone else’s or goes away forever.
When a hunter teaches his son or daughter to hunt, when a fisherman teaches someone to fish, they are passing along and handing down a heritage that will last as long as it is taught and passed along. Each generation needs people who pass on what they know and teach “how to” do things and how to live. Whether you call it a legacy or heritage, it is what was taught and passed down for future generations so the skills involved are not lost to time. Carpentry, machine work, bullet casting, re-loading, shooting, gunsmithing, cooking, fishing, hunting, all are talents and abilities held by individuals who should share them with as many people as possible.
One day not long ago, I was chatting on line and told someone I was a member of “The Cast Bullet Association”. I explained that while the benefits of being a member were essentially getting a newsletter and being allowed to compete in cast bullet shoots that are not in my area, I keep my membership simply because I want the CBA (Cast Bullet Association) to exist. I enjoy reading the information they have and think it is a worthwhile organization, but it is not an integral part of my life, yet I want to keep my membership simply so the CBA stays alive. Someone needs to have the stewardship of bullet casting and keep it going, that someone is me.
Stewardship is an interesting term. We think of stewardship as taking care of land or property for someone so it is well cared for. That is a correct way to think of it. It is caring for things that we don’t really “own”. Being a steward is being a house sitter or house watcher. In terms like that you can understand where I am coming from when I say we don’t really own anything or get to keep anything. If you went to church growing up you would hear about stewardship as giving what you have to God’s work or to the church. Many times the emphasis is on money, but truly we are to give our time, talent and abilities, along with our money. Our resources are important, but the most important thing you have is time. Take time to teach someone something, anything that they won’t learn from anyone else. That is the stewardship I am talking about. Those of us who shoot, cast bullets and reload have a lot of knowledge and experience that we need to funnel into others so it continues.
There are forces in this world who would love for hunting and shooting related activities to cease as the older generation dies off. Let us be firm in our belief that these things are a sacred trust that we hold and need to pass on to future generations. Be a mentor, help someone learn, invest in the future. Invest your time and money in things you believe in. Donate to causes you enjoy and take part in. Many on line forums only exist because the members donate money. I am sure they would all do better if more members gave. I want the future to have the information we have. I can do what I can do. I hope you will do what you can do. We all have different talents and abilities. We all have different opportunities and different experiences. If we all find ways to hand down what we know and believe then we can perpetuate what we love so it lasts long after we are gone.
I will leave you with this thought. My great grandfather was an avid fly fisherman. He used to make bamboo fishing rods. He was so skilled at it that people would pay him to make them fishing rods. His fishing rods were sought after and prized possessions. To my knowledge there is only one original fishing rod made by my great grandfather left in existence. My father once told me, one of his big regrets was not learning how to make bamboo fishing rods from my great grandfather. Everyone that could have learned from him either did not learn or has passed away. Now no one in our family knows how to do it. Yes, it is just a fishing rod, but it is much more than that.
Please take the time to think about what you know and what you have to pass on and take the time to give it to someone else.
John has been shooting since he was a kid and is now a middle aged man. He likes shooting rifles and handguns, reloading, bullet casting and the outdoors. He believes in God, freedom and a good sense of humor.