Make this Father’s Day one you and your child or children will remember. Experiencing the splendor of Mother Nature is a journey of the heart and spirit that brings father and son or father and daughter closer together—effortlessly. As a father, you instinctually want to bestow wisdom upon your children, and spending time amongst nature holds the lessons that point to those wise teachings. In this article, I’ll provide an elemental four-point Father’s Day checklist as well as an essential four-point Father’s Day gear list.
“Nature is more than the trees, wind, rain, mountains, and seas—it is also the very pulse of our own stories as humans. Over the last one hundred years, we as a society have experienced a steady disconnection with the natural world itself, and perhaps we have forgotten that we, too, are simply a part of nature. Richard Louv coined the phrase “Nature Deficit Disorder” in his book “Last Child in the Woods,” citing it as not a medical diagnosis, but rather the ultimate costs of our alienation from nature. Feeling the natural world, all senses engaged and feeding data to the brain, opens up the atavistic multi-generational subconscious that is hard-wired into our DNA, gently and subtly guiding us toward our true self.” - E.S. Curry, The Flying Sabuki
The above excerpt is from my book The Flying Sabuki: A Father-Son Nature Adventure where I write about the importance of fostering and developing a symbiotic father/child relationship, screen-free, amongst a nature backdrop. While there are scores of books for expecting fathers, The Flying Sabuki opens an intimate window into the formative Kindergarten years of a father and son relationship with a positive foundation.
I wrote the entire book during a week’s vacation with my son Åsmund in the New York Adirondack Mountains where I developed his character and values through storytelling, discovered how being amongst nature created an environment for imagination and connectedness, and witnessed the transition from winter to spring right before our eyes. Spending quality time together, just killing time with each other, provides introspective enlightenment that only unfettered time amongst the wild can manifest.
This Father’s Day my seven-year-old son Åsmund and I will be competing in our first sailing regatta together racing our 1975 Bicentennial Edition Ericson 29. I’ve taken him sailing since he was two months old and he’s learned a lot about seamanship, work ethic, and sailing since then. He also loves to wear matching clothes and gear, making us feel like a team. Our sailboat Escapade (USA 15936), being a bicentennial edition, is painted red, white, and blue and we’ve adopted those classic nautical colors for our uniforms thanks to the stylish sailing brand Helly Hansen. My best buddy Dave, Åsmund, and I will be sporting our matching hats and gear, united in appearance and spirit, tacking in pursuit of sailing glory—we took third in class last year and will be racing for a podium finish in 2022.
Pennant finishes aside, being on the water together sailing, and working with Mother Nature to achieve a goal together is the real treat. The things that will matter most to me this Father’s Day, and every day for that matter, are:
- Telling your son and/or daughter that you love them. Don’t just say I love you either. Let them really know how important they are to you and how they make your life so much more meaningful. We no longer live in an age where fathers are expected to remain stoic and reserved in their feelings, let that kiddo know they’re loved.
- Give ‘em the biggest hugs, as much as you can, and don’t let go until they let go.
- Go on an adventure together. Whether it’s a sailing regatta like Åsmund and me, a hike in the forest, fishing in the river, climbing a mountain, or simply playing frisbee in a park—get outside and let nature be your Father’s Day backdrop.
- Create or get something that you can wear together. Åsmund made the whole Escapade crew red, white, and blue rubber band bracelets one morning at 6 am before we stepped the mast this year. All the guys loved them and he was so proud to give them to everyone. Do this with your kids! Whether it’s a ball cap, t-shirt, or bracelet; there’s a science behind why teams wear uniforms—it fosters togetherness.
Now that we’ve got a basic Father’s Day framework for success set-up, let’s get some basic adventure gear sorted for all your future fatherly adventures. Always make sure you have your bases covered for day adventures: water, safety, clothing, and food.
- Water! The most important thing to bring on any adventure… we can’t live without it and my son and I love our matching Yeti water bottles for their form and function. We’ve had more water bottles than we can count and this bottle is the bee's knees with its sippability or gulpability and its awesome screwtop handle lid. Be sure to add stickers representing your favorite places, people, or things!
- Safety first! Anywhere we go the pro-dad move is to have a basic first aid kit for day trips. I leave this one in my car at all times and can quickly toss it in my backpack when we head out for an adventure. And for those dads out there that need a reminder… remember the sunscreen! Natrapel bug wipes are great for kids. I also keep on board our sailboat Escapade these splints in the event we need to immobilize a wrist, arm, or leg. When you’re dealing with thousands of pounds of force on standing and running rigging, a serious break can happen. Be prepared.
- Dress for success with Smartwool! I depend on Smartwool as a base set of clothing for all my adventures. When it comes to sailing gear, I depend on Helly Hansen. The 4Ocean bracelet makes a nice subtle way to wear something that matches together and helps the environment. Every bracelet purchased funds the removal of one pound of trash from the ocean and coastlines. Wear it as a reminder of your fatherly connection, to curb your plastic habit, live more sustainably, and encourage others to take action to protect our world.
- Everyone loves ice cream! Pack a few of these freeze-dried ice cream sandwiches for your adventures and you can have ice cream anywhere. It makes the experience even more special. Grab some of the other Mountain House products for easy and delicious adventure meals.
I hope reading this article or The Flying Sabuki about my father/son Adirondack adventure inspires you to take some time with your child—to make quiet memories together. To get closer than you have ever been before.
This Father’s Day is your chance to write the life story you want your child to remember. To give them a story to tell their kids about how their dad just loved spending time with them. How he loved to go sailing, hiking, climbing, or fishing together.
You’re the author this Father’s Day so write a story your child will hold in their heart long after you’ve gone—give them a fatherly legacy of love. Because love witnesses the best in others and manifests the best in us.