This family embraces the proud tradition of trapping to create a bond with each other and with nature. 21st century technology can’t compete for these kids.
Mark Deans and his wife JoAnne are raising their three children – Kayla, Graham and Sydney – to be intimate participants in a tradition that some people might question or disapprove of as outdated and unnecessary: trapping. We submit that, on the contrary, the Deans’ trapping lifestyle is healthy, ethical and good in every respect.
Mark declares that having his children join him on the trapline is part of teaching them a “wholesome lifestyle”. He’s right. Who could argue that direct, hands-on learning about nature and self reliance does not teach young people the most practical of life skills and appreciation of the natural world?
If only more children could experience nature like the Deans kids.
But as the narrator indicates, “Trapping isn’t just about spending time as a family, there’s money here too. A marten earns the Deans somewhere around $50 a pelt these days… Last year the Deans earned around $10,000 from their trapline.”
That’s a great lesson for kids too, helping them to understand and assist in a family’s income. But the Deans’ lifestyle, as it is with the many individuals and many families who earn part of their livelihood from the wild, also instills a deep awareness and respect for the value of life – every life, including animal life.
“Remember that for these kids, trapping is something that they’ve grown up with. It’s normal,” says the narrator. “Maybe because of it, they have a better sense of where things actually come from.”
I’d say that that’s true. But I also think we would do well to remember that growing up with a close connection to the natural world is the normal way humans have lived throughout most of our history on earth. Growing up disconnected from the natural world is actually the historically unusual and abnormal thing.
At one point the narrator asks JoAnne, “Are you proud that your kids know how to trap and know how to take care of themselves in the bush?”
Her answer is that of a mother confident in that she and her husband are doing precisely what they need to do to raise their children right. “They should feel proud…” she says, “I think should feel like they’re tough they’re healthy because of it.”