Sunday, June 23, 2013

Gone Fishing 

Anne Isabella Thackeray Ritchie in her novel, Mrs. Dymond coined the term, "If you give a man a fish he is hungry again in an hour. If you teach him to catch a fish you do him a good turn." You I am sure by now have heard the term and have seen it everywhere. We smile, we nod, but what is important to do is to take a kid fishing. Your kid or even #tlap the situation and take your class out to the pier, dock, lakefront, river or what have you to learn to fish and to learn about life, themselves and nature. 

Lessons learned in life and about yourself:

  • Patience
  • Persistence
  • Grit
  • Stick-to-itve-ness
  • Eventually you will be rewarded and even if you are not, that is okay
  • Quiet time is important

I spent the other day this past week with my own daughter. Oh, she likes fishing for 10 minutes, but because she is a perfectionist, she finds the fact that there is no fish on the other end IMMEDIATELY annoying and wants to quit. It is true! She is a brilliant student data wise in school but there are so many other ways to be smart, she needs to cultivate those ways and so I take her fishing. Not for a punishment, but to talk to her. Yeah, she thinks were just fishing.  

Were not. 

pic from
As her bobber got stuck on a rock as she was reeling it in, it was hard work for her. She had to think of an innovative way to get that bobber unstuck! It wasn't as easy as it sounds. It involved a water pipe, a tree, and a stick. She also had to get over her fear of leeches sticking to her. 

As she hooked her own worms (sometimes we use leeches or maggots) she learns the fine arts of arranging the critters so that they don't fall off when you throw the line out. 

When no fish came in the first 10 minutes and her boredom started to appear, I redirected her to try another spot.   Try a different lure. You just don't give up, the big one is out there. 

Even in the silence when only nature was talking, she learns that it is okay to surrender to the silence. Quiet time is important. It leads to self reflection as an adult and when we are quiet, we can hear what is really being said.

Lessons learned about nature:

  • All the animals that live in lakes, ponds, rivers, streams and make it their habitat
  • All the critters and ecosystems
  • Kinds of fish
  • Looking at the sky and weather charts
  • How deep lakes are
  • How to survive

When I lost my bobber because it got stuck in a tree then flew off like a rocket into the river I laughed. What a goof! Good grief! So I made do. I needed a bobber and it helps to drive the line out. Without throwing out the line was a joke. I so I found a twig. I tied it with fishing line to the line, after I re threaded my pole and added a hook again. :/ It was goofy, but it did its job. So, I taught my daughter to make do with what is around you. Use nature for your resources. 

Yet, appreciate nature and all the goodness it provides. the beauty, the sounds, the mirror imaging on the lakes. 

So, what could you do as a teacher, as a #tlap teacher? You could on a Saturday or even for a week day field trip, organize a Take A Kid Fishing Day for your class. Invite the whole family, make it a Beyond the Bake Sale moment. Seize the opportunity to draw in parents to a great day of fishing. Maybe arrange a scavenger hunt for the ones who need a break. Have people share a picnic together. 
Ice fishing in MN on Gull Lake from

Now I am working on taking my kids ice fishing. NOW THAT IS A HARD SELL! That really takes GRIT! Brrr...but until then, we are off to go fishing again, and again just off the dock, or off the shore, on off the pontoon. Here fishy-fishy! And for now, she still thinks "We're Just Fishin"

And I will always be the single mom who made sure her kids went fishing. Maybe when they are old, they will know what I was trying to teach them. 

I love Jesus. I love my kids. I love learning. I love teaching and I love fishing!