Written last Sunday morning.
I’m sitting on the porch, listening to the wind chimes go tink-tink-tink.
Jason’s out in the boat, somewhere on the other side of the lake.
My son is standing confidently on the dock with his rod and reel, casting like a professional angler.
All 52” of him is invested in every tiny aspect of what he’s doing. His arms, legs, face, mouth, legs, brain. I can see it all working together in perfect unison.
He’s got his own rhythm to casting and reeling it in – one, two, three, four, five, six, puuuuuullllll, one, two, three, four, five, six, puuuuuuuullllll. Over and over again.
He gets caught on something. He calls me thinking he’s got a fish. Then he says, “nevermind, it’s just a tree.” Not with a voice of disappointment, either. That’s just what happens when you’re fishing.
He brings the line in, with a little squishy and stinky plastic worm on the end. He’s inspecting it like it’s a precious gem. Something isn’t right, I guess. He carefully lays the rod down on the dock, walks to the end and sits down by the worm. He wiggles and fiddles, apparently adjusting it to be just right on the hook. The real, sharp, pointy, adult-type hook.
He knows what to do.
He stands with authority. His brain is quiet. He is patient.
He does just what his Daddy has taught him.
Time. Words. Actions.
That’s how fishing is taught. It isn’t something you learn in a classroom. You can’t. It’s something you learn over time.
It’s learned by watching the actions of others and having the desire to do this activity together, just the two of you.
With a patient instructor, an eager student, a body of water and time, the special skill of fishing is passed from one generation to another.
Just like Jason’s father taught him, he is teaching Henry.
Two of the biggest lessons that fishing is instilling in our son are ones that will last a lifetime.
Fishing isn’t all about the fish. It’s about being in the quiet, just you and the world surrounding you. Once you learn it, it can never be taken away, only shared.
What’s that saying?
Give a man a fish and you feed him for a day. Teach a man to fish and you feed him for a lifetime. ~Chinese Proverb
And you also learn that sometimes you win, and sometimes you don’t. There are a lot more opportunities in a morning on the water to catch nothing than to catch something.
But when you do catch something, it’s totally ok to say it was twice as big as it really was!