So, the state of Arkansas has several weekends a year when they allow everybody to fish without a license. We decided that this weekend we would take advantage of that to take our kids fishing for the first time. I have owned several different fishing poles over the years and I was relatively certain that I could find one of mine (I did). We bought a smaller pole for our kids (aged 3 and 6) to share.
Both of the kids loved the idea (“We going fishing!” declared our three year old son), but in practice, only our six year old daughter could appreciate it. Our son was willing to hold a pole and turn the crank a little, but he wanted to spend his time stomping through the mud with an occasional foray into the water (which resulted in a tumble that left him soaked and made my wife glad I had insisted we bring towels and leave them in the van).
Our six year old wanted to actually fish. Never having fished before, she had a tough time learning how to cast. I showed her a couple of times and then held her hand and helped her do it. I then let her do it herself. She failed miserably. The timing of when to press the button with her thumb and when to release it escaped her. She insisted that she would “never” learn how to do it and she just wanted me to cast it for her and she would reel it in. I took her hand and helped her cast a couple of more times, and then let her go again. Her next cast went sideways about ten feet, but it went. A few more abortive attempts and she was consistently casting her line fifteen to twenty feet into the Little Red River and was thoroughly enjoying herself.
I guess both of our kids’ fishing experiences are metaphors for life and religion. Some folks seem excited about whatever endeavor they are about to begin, but when confronted with the reality they would rather goof off than pursue their chosen course of action. That was our son. Other folks get excited and start down the path, but things are never quite as easy as they seemed when you were thinking about starting. Frustration sets in and you want to give up as soon as you begin. If we look to those around us for encouragement and guidance to help us along the way, we soon find that we can continue on the path we have set for ourselves.
Our daughter was disappointed that we didn’t catch anything and is already eagerly anticipating our next fishing trip. Our son was just thrilled to be able to run around and yell “I fell in!”