By Merry Beth Ryan
As an avid “outdoors person” my love for the adventures of fishing and hunting come to me as a family tradition passed down to me through the years. My siblings and I were fortunate to have parents that enjoyed spending time with us in the outdoors. I have many fond memories of fishing as a young child that remain very vivid in my mind even after all those years.
In today’s busy society, it seems that parents have less time for their children. It is refreshing to see parents and grandparents participating in bringing youngsters to local kids fishing tournaments. It can be a time to share quality time, well spent with our most important resource, our children. Leisure fishing provides me an opportunity to temporarily clear my mind of the day to day challenges we face. I can relax and recharge my batteries so to speak. The same holds true for our young people that are facing more and more peer pressure from peers, education and society. You have often heard it said that our children are our future. The same holds true about a sport we love. The future of fishing is our children.
In order to keep the heritage of fishing alive, we must take the time to pass on our skills and knowledge about the sport we love to the next generation. That’s correct I said “take time”. None of us seem to have time anymore. But we must establish our priorities and make time for our families when at all possible. As outdoor lovers we need to make the time to take our youngsters fishing. Pass on the tradition. You will make memories that both you and the kids will cherish for a lifetime. I know I did with my family. If you do not have children or yours have all grown up and gone find a kid to borrow and change their life forever. Teach them to fish or help them hone the skills they may already have.
You will be amazed at the joy it will bring your heart watching the little ones reel up a fish. They get so excited you can feel their joy as well. There is nothing quite like the feeling one gets watching the pure excitement on a child’s face , it will surely energize you to say the least. I usually get more joy from helping a child catch a fish than I get from myself catching a fish. There is no better medicine than a child’s smile when we are perhaps feeling a little blue. A child is so eager to learn that it is a very satisfying reward to be able to teach them how to fish. I have said it before in some of my columns that there will be times a child is more happy playing in your bait well with the bait fish than he or she is catching fish. That is not necessarily a bad thing, just being fortunate to have children on your boat out fishing .
The future of our nation is found in the hands of our children. The future of our sport is also in the hands of our children. In both cases, it is our responsibility to train those little hands and help them grow. Give a kid a fish to catch and you will feed his or her character for a day, teach a kid to catch fish and you will feed his or her character for a lifetime. So please remember to take a kid fishing you will be glad you did!