My nine-year-old and I went squirrel hunting for the first time this season. Like most of my hunting trips in South Carolina, it involved walking through lots of blackberry thickets, looking for squirrels that had gone far away as soon as they heard us tramping through blackberry thickets.

But it was a good time for both of us. A bonding time, and a guy time. Armed with shotguns, dressed in orange, we were quite the outdoorsmen. And as we laughed and watched the trees, I realized that far too few fathers are out there doing what I did today.

I don’t mean hunting, necessarily. I mean walking ahead through the forests of life, watching for the bogs and thickets, stepping over the logs to check for rattlesnakes, finding the best path, helping their children look for the goals they were meant to attain, and desire to attain. Life is a long hike through treacherous terrain. Those children who have to make a way on their own will have a long time in scary places, unless they have a father to teach them, comfort them, guide them and, in person, accompany them.

And especially when the sons are abandoned in this way, then how can they know the way to guide the next generation of children? It’s a terrible cascade. And one I intend my children to avoid, God willing.

Ed