Fostering the Future
As a foster parent, my priority is to help the girls who join our family heal, learn to embrace their value, and grow into happy, productive young adults who can write a new chapter for their lives. Helping them gain the skills and confidence to defend and take care of themselves, so they never have to be taken advantage of or victimized again, is important to me personally. That’s one reason why one of our foster daughters and I attended a local NRA Refuse to Be a Victim class before she went off to college, to give her the tools and confidence to protect herself no matter where life takes her. —Jennifer Bridgman, PR Consultant
My son, Asher, has just turned six. He’s been watching Eddie Eagle since he was about 2, and we always discuss the ideas in it. We have discussed how some real guns look like toys and some toys look real, and we practice asking Mom or Dad first before he picks up anything that might be a gun. Asher took a few shots with a .22 rifle last summer in Colorado, but it was entirely up to him whether he did or not. He took one shot, left for a while (my mom was watching him for me in a nearby pavilion), came back and took two more shots, went away again for a while, and took two more at the end! I think letting it be on his own terms was very helpful, as he has nothing but positive memories of the experience. Perhaps equally importantly, he saw just as many women shooting that day as men. I want him to see shooting as a normal activity for anyone. —Melissa Dixon, Managing Editor, America’s 1st Freedom
Seeding the Passion
As a 2A mom I’m doing everything possible to teach our children the importance of the Second Amendment and how it ensures our freedom. We are a huge hunting family, but the Second Amendment goes way beyond our right to bear arms just for hunting. Since our kids were little, we’ve brought them up around guns, taught them about gun safety and brought them with us in the field. From time spent at the shooting range to hunting, we constantly try to do everything possible to include our children so those same core beliefs will be instilled in them.
I’m a firm believer that word of mouth among kids is a great way to educate other children, so we try to keep our kids informed and always answer any questions they may have. Some of our very best memories have come from the field. Since my husband is a game warden, and I hunt for a living, we are both adamant about keeping our kids involved and trying to get other kids in the community exposed to guns and hunting so they have a positive association with guns, the outdoors and the Second Amendment. I was brought up in a very strong 2A household, and I’m thankful every day for my parents ensuring both my brother and I were always involved and seeding that passion from our youngest years. Now, as a mother myself, I plan to do the very same with my family; so far so good! —Melissa Bachman, Winchester Deadly Passion
A Unique Path
My family’s unique path in life has been something formed by hundreds of tiny decisions, compounding over the course of lifetimes … as every family’s path does. I’m thankful to live in a country where I can share my love for all things related to firearms and the Second Amendment with not just my children, but with others. Someone with whom our family works recently said that we have something that 99.99 percent of families don't: a unique lifestyle. It makes my heart happy to stand strongly in our uniqueness. But it also makes me hopeful that by sharing how normal it is to just be ourselves and embrace the freedoms we have, we’ll encourage others to do the same. On Mother’s Day, I want to encourage more women to experience the freedom that comes with choosing to live a life authentically American, and accepting that our country has always been full of rebels, and we and the world are better for it. —Becky Yackley, Competitive Shooter
Sense of Duty
Even before I was involved in shooting sports, my boys were taught about freedom and duty. My grandfather Clyde W. Runyan was killed in World War II. The boys were taught that freedom is worth a sacrifice and that it can be lost if not coveted. Their stepdad, Todd, retired from the United States Marine Corps and I retired from civilian service with the Army. They were witness to oaths by both of us to defend the Constitution of the United States—and defending it is defending the Second Amendment.
In Todd they saw this deep sense of duty to our country and his Marines as he deployed multiple times to the Middle East. I’m so very proud to say both boys have served in the armed forces; our oldest still does. Since I started shooting late in life, the boys spent some time with me on the range, but one of my greatest joys now is spending time with my grandson, Ben. Since Ben could talk, we have been going over the firearm safety rules. Last year, he finally understood the safety rules and was allowed to shoot a .22 Long Rifle. This will go down as one of my favorite memories because he loved it! Now in our gun safe, there is a rifle with his name on it. — Karen Butler, Founder and President of Shoot Like A Girl
Teach the mom, involve the family. Not only do I believe in that motto, I live by it. Married to a Texas game warden, we raised our four boys to respect and enjoy their Second Amendment firearm freedoms through hunting and the shooting sports. The boys were raised in the woods, waters and fields and some of my favorite memories have been next to them while on a hunt.
Whether we were in a deer blind, (each of my boys took their first deer at age 7), standing chest-deep in the flooded timbers on a waterfowl hunt or hunkered at the base of a tree during turkey season blowing on their homemade wing-bone calls, my boys continue making memories and growing their experiences to pass along. They are carrying on their Second Amendment passions into adulthood.
My 20-year-old, Dominic, is the Hunter Education program manager for Laser Shot Simulations, a manufacturer of firearms shooting simulations technology used to train law enforcement, military and hunters. My 18-year-old, Matthew, works part time at a gun shop in Houston as a range officer. He works with customers on the range to improve their marksmanship and helps new shooters build confidence and skills. Both my 16-year-old, JohnJohn, and my 13-year-old, Luke, are working with a coach and training for International Defensive Pistol Association (IDPA), where they are learning competitive shooting and defensive tactics while having fun competing with their peers. —Heidi Lyn Rao