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I’ve got a summertime lesson for you.

With schools out for summer, the timing is vital.

If you grew up in a world anything like mine, you can picture the scene I’m about to describe. You know the man I'm talking about. It's the grumpy old man that, as a child, you could never see eye-to-eye with.

You did your best to be a kid. You dug worms in his backyard. You got your ball stuck on his roof. And you played hide-and-go-seek on his neatly stacked (at least when you started) woodpile.

When he finally shooed you off his property, he did his best to point out everything wrong with your generation. Almost every conversation would end the same way. The old man, hands on his hips, slowly mumbled, “Kids, these days… I just don’t get ‘em.”

Somewhere along the way, I became that old man. I feel the same way he did. I just don’t get kids these days.

Just look at the group of kids I saw at a local lake last weekend. Instead of lining the shore in hopes of hooking a lunker, they were lined up in lawn chairs with their faces buried in video games.

Video games? At a lake? When the fish were biting? I was astonished.

I would love to be able to blame the kids. But it's certainly not their fault. Most of these kids are practically raised by a screen.

Al Roker tells them what to wear to school. Big Bird teaches them how to spell. And Jimmy Fallon taught them their first dirty joke. No wonder they don’t want to stroll down to the local stream with a rod in hand. There’s no TV in the woods.

As fans of the outdoors, getting kids involved in our sports must be a top priority. If we fail, who will be there to stand up and fight for what’s best for Mother Nature and the environment.

There's no easier way to get a kid hooked on fishing than to — this is simple stuff — take him or her fishing. After just one bluegill, one trout or even one catfish, you'll have created an angler for life. I’ve seen it with my own son.

It's far too easy to fall into man’s cultural traps. We love our money and the things it can buy. But the only way to get it is to sacrifice our time and work, work, work.  All too often, that means leaving little Johnny or Samantha in front of a television set during a beautiful summer afternoon.

While Elmo is dancing and singing in the corner of a dark living room, the sun is shining, fish are biting and caterpillars are crawling. The real world is passing by.

Without introducing the next generation to the jaw-dropping beauty of a stable, pristine environment, our youngsters will never know what it's like to wake up and yearn to go outside. Nature is not something to enjoy when the power goes out. It's a passion you enjoy for a lifetime.

Summer is here. The kids are out of school. That means it's the perfect time to line up a fishing trip with a youngster.

Maybe then, we can start understanding these crazy kids.

Andy Snyder writes about the outdoors for The York Dispatch. He can be reached at sports@yorkdispatch.com.

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