Wednesday, July 15, 2015
Take a Kid Fishing
Fishing and kids seem to go together better than helpless women and railroad tracks. It's one of those activities that youngster’s just pick-up easily and enjoy naturally, without any added pressure or encouragement. Put a fishing pole in the hands of a child and watch a strange transformation occur. Eyes glazed from watching too much TV are awakened, tongues wag no stop from exhilaration and little legs and arms vibrate with the excitement and anticipation of a possible catch. Even the most bored and despondent kids, will be transformed into industrious sportsmen in training, as their inquisitive minds attempt to unravel all of the mysteries of the fishing sport. As they delve deeper they will eventually come to realize that all aspects of “fishing” simply cannot be learned in a lifetime. Perhaps this is part of the attraction, the sport of fishing can be as complicated OR as simple as one desires. It need be no more complicated (unless one chooses) than a simple stick, line, hook and worm. It is a sport of the rich and poor alike and each has an equal chance of scoring a true personal trophy.
Know the Lingo: Fishing lingo, vernacular and jargon is often picked-up by sportsmen over a lifetime of pursuing fish. These words and catch phrases (no pun intended) are unique to the sport and when uttered for the first time by young kids, utterly adorable. Imagine a four year old telling you, with a look on his face as serious as a heart attack, that he thinks he just had a “dribble” and he better reel in the line to see if it still has a worm. If that doesn’t make you smile, how about picturing a five year old approaching a perfect stranger at the boat launch and asking “Hey Mistah, whatcha usein for bait?” When you finally reach the point in your child’s fishing education, where the kiddos are having random conversations with other “rival” fishermen at boat launches, it’s important that you sit them down and have a serious heart to heart talk about two of the most important aspect of fishing, secrets and exaggeration. In these ensuing conversations, children must be taught who can and cannot be trusted with fishing secrets and to whom and when it is perfectly acceptable to blatantly lie. For parents looking to speed up their child’s education, this might also be a good time to work in the “We don’t need to tell Mommy everything” discussion. Speaking of secrets, I almost rolled off the dock last week when my five year old brought his mouth close to my ear and in a low whisper said, "Daddy, I have a fishing secret, you haftah be careful when your fishing to be quite so you don't scare away the fish". This was funny, because it wasn’t something that I had ever directly taught him but rather was most likely something he garnered himself from our quiet interactions at the lake.
Whenever possible, ensure fishing with a child is a safe and enjoyable experience. Don’t expect every second to be perfect but make sure to create scenarios that kids will want to return to again and again. If something unexpected occurs (like someone gets hooked or falls off the dock), at least make sure to salvage the day with a trip to get ice cream. The trick is to always end on a good note AND while the kiddos are still wanting more. If they start screaming and crying when you tell them its time to go home, you have done your due diligence.