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Lessons outdoors are best taught by showing and telling

Lessons outdoors are best taught by showing and telling

By Cyndi Tomczak

Photo: Joshua Perez couldn’t wait to run and climb on this large, fallen tree.

Joshua Perez and his Poppie were outdoors one cool morning last year, enjoying each other’s company and spending some time together when Mother Nature provided a quick lesson for the young man.

John Bohac, Joshua’s grandfather, is better known as Poppie to his grandsons. It’s routine for Poppie to take Joshie along with him during his day-to-day activities. The pair spends a lot of time together on a weekly basis; they’ve been doing that since Joshie was three.

There’s one special place they both enjoy. Whenever John visits the 200-acre property of a friend in West Columbia, Texas, he takes Joshie along with him. John helps manage the deer population and hunts hogs on the property. Sometimes he takes Joshie’s younger brother Jacob along, too.

That property is one of the places where Poppie spends time teaching young Joshie the importance of nature, about hunting, about safety, and about being aware of your surroundings.

Then, on some special days, Poppie’s lessons come with real life illustrations.

Joshua PerezOn this particular morning, they drove out to a pasture where Joshie spotted a huge tree that had fallen. Joshie wanted to climb on the tree, and being only 7 years old, that's what young boys do.

Poppie told him to be careful, but he’d be nearby, watching Joshie from a slight distance.

As Joshie approached the fallen tree, from out of nowhere, a doe appeared and started chasing Joshie.  To escape the doe, Joshie ran as fast as he could to Poppie’s truck and jumped in the back.

Of course, Poppie had been watching the whole time. He knew exactly what was going on! Does are very protective about their fawns, and sometimes they can be dangerous to people and pets who come too close.

When the doe stopped chasing Joshie, she turned away and disappeared in the wooded area just beyond the huge, fallen tree.

Later Poppie and Joshie headed back to the tree. They were focusing on the ground as they walked. That's when Joshie saw a little fawn in the tall grass.

How had he missed it before? He wondered. As he quietly knelt by the small fawn, Poppie took his picture with the baby animal.

This is an experience that Poppie believes little Joshie will never forget. The picture of Joshie and the fawn now hangs above the fireplace at Poppie's house, so they can remember that day forever.

Now, they’re sharing Joshie’s picture for others to see, as well as some of Poppie’s advice to stay aware of your surroundings, no matter where you are.

Although Joshie wasn’t aware of the fawn’s presence, its mother was, and now Joshie has learned to take time to look more carefully at his surroundings.

— Photos courtesy John Bohac.

Copyright 2021 by Buckmasters, Ltd.

Copyright 2020 by Buckmasters, Ltd