Ol' Pop reflects on Father's Day and his family's respect for nature

Jeff and Mason Polakoff (Photo courtesy of Jeff Polakoff)

Jeff and Mason Polakoff (Photo courtesy of Jeff Polakoff)

June 15, 2014 | by Jeff Polakoff

Anyone who knows me knows that my favourite place to be is surrounded by family at our cabin in Lake of the Woods; particularly with my wife Debbie, our daughter Jamie and her partner George, our son Mason and his wife Lindsay and our grandchildren Olivia and Logan. 

I’ve heard people say that there’s no greater feeling than being a parent, but I now know that those people haven’t experienced being a grandparent. There’s a deep sense of joy that comes from seeing your family carry on for future generations, but it also causes you to reflect on your own evolution as a person. You also experience pride in your children for the way they’re handling their personal journey. 

From the time our kids were small and now with our grandchildren, Debbie and I have shared our love of the outdoors with them. Our appreciation for nature was instilled in us by our parents who also believed that having an opportunity to enjoy the outdoors with your family is perhaps one of the biggest gifts you can share.

It has been our experience over the years that the best way to ensure that kids have a keen appreciation for the outdoors is to get them out at an early age. It’s important to share and teach them the value and the need to respect all aspects of nature and the animals and plants that are a part of, and supported by, our natural surroundings. It’s also best to have children experience the outdoors and the animals first-hand while providing them with as much information as you can on their lives and their habitat (both the kids and the animals). 

Spending time with kids can also have the effect of reintroducing a sense of wonder to parents, or in this case, grandparents, who sometimes forget how children feel when they encounter animals in their natural surroundings.

As my family comes together for Father’s Day this year, I will also be celebrating my son Mason, the wonderful father he has become and the opportunity he has given me to experience being a grandfather. Father’s Day, as well as other special times in the outdoors and at our cabin, will be spent taking in fresh air, watching for whitetail doe with their fawns, turtles, chipmunks and anything else the kids and grandkids want to share with their family and ol’ Pop.

 Happy Father’s Day to all the dads and granddads out there. 

Jeff Polakoff

Jeff Polakoff, regional vice president, Manitoba (Photo by NCC)

About the Author

Jeff Polakoff is the Manitoba regional vice-president of the Nature Conservancy of Canada.

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