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I live in a house with six males. SIX. That’s a lot of testosterone. That’s a lot of energy. That’s a lot of laughter and bouncing off of walls and frogs in pockets and wrestling and love and time well spent getting dirty.
I love every minute of it. Well, most minutes. (Okay, some minutes are really, really hard. But that’s for another time.)
I really love watching the boys with Dad getting loud and messy from inside the house. (What? I’m honest!)
With summer nearly upon us, we’re going to have a lot of time to fill. These five boys aren’t couch potatoes, and I’m always on the lookout for fun and educational excursions for them. One of the activities on our agenda for the coming months is fishing. The boys get some reminders about natural resource conservation, and spending time on a boat throwing around terms like, “Port, starboard, stern, and bow” is always exciting.
Better yet, while they are having fun they are (unknowingly) learning some fundamental life lessons that will serve them well throughout their lives.
1. Patience isn’t just a virtue, it’s a necessary skill.
Catching fish takes time. No surprise here; even those who’ve never fished know that much of the time is spent waiting and watching. That’s the beauty of the pastime. In fishing- as in life- it’s not about getting to the end, it’s about enjoying the entire process and remembering the old adage, “Good things come to those who wait.”
2. Quiet time is important.
Our world seems to get more full and busy with each passing year. Even kids have booked schedules; there is precious little down time in modern life. As a result we spend less and less time listening to ourselves think and being intentionally in the moment. The quiet time spent in a boat allows you to reconnect to that interior voice; a very valuable exercise for young and old alike.
3. Getting up before dawn is one of life’s simplest pleasures.
Most of us don’t see the sunrise on a regular basis; there is something uniquely special about seeing the night give way to the first rays of light. The early morning is often a great time to catch fish, so seeing that sunrise is part of my family’s whole fishing experience.
4. Persevere, persevere, persevere.
Just like fishing isn’t a sport for those who want immediate results, it’s also not for those who give up easily. You learn quickly to keep on keepin‘ on; go after that goal with tenacity and doggedness. Eventually you will be rewarded. Maybe not today, maybe not tomorrow…all in good time.
5. Sometimes camaraderie doesn’t require talking.
Learning that silence doesn’t always need to be filled and that sitting side-by-side in a boat without speaking for long stretches at a time is an invaluable lesson. Those hours on a boat fishing together, much of it in silence, strengthens brotherly (and friendship!) bonds. They’ll have that forever.
I love seeing my boys come home from a fishing expedition; they’re less rough and tumble and a bit more calm and companionable. Don’t get me wrong, I love the rough and tumble, too; but they all seem a wee bit wiser when they come home from a day fishing together.
And sure. The next day things are back to normal. But I know those life lessons are with them, and always will be.
Top Graphic Credit: My 9yr old. He really loves fishing. He also wants you to know he did not add the words and he’s a bit peeved that words cover some of his beautiful illustration.