Hook the Kids – Fishing as a parenting tool
Let’s face it; most kids these days are not learning to appreciate their environment, nor are they receiving enough quality attention from their parents. Our busy work schedules and their computers, video games, and iPods have created enough barriers to many valuable bonding opportunities.
As parents, we are responsible for taking the initiative to introduce our children to new and greater things. When I look back, I can think of no greater activity that I was introduced to than fishing. There are many ways to bond with a child. However, there are not many activities that offer the numerous benefits which fishing does. As children grow they’re constantly learning. Like little sponges of life absorbing anything and everything around them. This is what makes fishing such a great approach to building a lasting union between you and your child or grandchild for that matter. I could go on and on discussing the many benefits that most of you are already aware of, but I would like to simply include my personal story of how my dad converted the art of fishing into a powerful parenting and bonding tool.
My father started taking me fishing as soon as I was big enough to hold a fishing rod. The experiences we shared together were most certainly priceless for me and probably more so for him. I can honestly say that we learned more about one another during our fishing “adventures”, as we would call them, than with any amount of time spent at home.
Now that I look back I now realize that it wasn’t necessarily the time spent actually fishing that was so valuable. It was rather, all of the time spent planning trips, preparing tackle, riding from one fishing hole to another and then sharing our day’s adventure with the rest of the family over dinner. This goes without mentioning all of the learning experiences he contributed to along the way which will never be forgoten.
A simple act such as learning to tie on a hook for the first time has special meaning. I don’t quite remember the first fish I caught but I bet he would. And I certainly shouldn’t forget learning about nature; learning the names of each tree, bird, plant, and of course, fish. Also, at an early age I was taught a valuable lesson on only harvesting what you plan to eat. This instilled a respect for life which has carried on in me to this day.
The list of fond memories and values I have which are related to fishing just keep going and going but let me end with this. As time flew by and I eventually moved out of the nest, way out of the nest I should add, fishing continued to be that link which kept my father and I in touch. To this day I can think of no greater fishing partner I’d rather have. I’d give anything to go wet a hook with him tomorrow.
So, now that you see the impression a father has made on his son with the great tool of fishing in hand, go do the same with your family. It doesn’t matter which activity or hobbie you choose. Just spend some quality time with your kids. Get them out of the house, find something in common, and then keep it close to your heart.
Please feel free to respond to this thread with your own experiences and advice to others no matter how big or small.