For Love Of The Game, Not The Video Game
Yesterday while trout fishing down around Brunswick, I saw something that is becoming all to common, and for me, it’s down right disappointing. While working our way along a grass-lined bank, we eased past another boat.
I watched the man fishing as we went past and couldn’t help but notice a child, maybe 9 or 10 years old, playing on an iPad oblivious to the outside world around him. Sadly, I’m seeing more and more of that these days with fisherman, as well as hunters. Which leads me to a question: Are we just taking our kids to the outdoors, or are we actually engaging them in the outdoors? Because there is a huge difference in the two, and I mean huge!
Lots of children nowadays believe hunting consists of sitting in a condo stand and watching Mickey Mouse on their tablet until a deer enters a food plot. Then after looking up from the movie or game long enough to look around or pull the trigger, it’s right back to gadget.
I think in today’s success-driven world, it’s easy for many parents to get caught up in chasing the prize and forgetting to teach kids about all the work and effort that goes into obtaining it.
That leads to the next question: How do we teach them the right way?
I once heard a pilot say, “The landing is easy, if you have the right approach.”
This couldn’t be more true for taking our next generation hunting and fishing. Here’s an example of what I’m talking about.
Two years ago, I took my son Colt fishing. He’s 6 years old and has literally been in the boat with me since he was in diapers. I know this because I have changed many on the side of the river. Anyway, we have had plenty of good days on the water and plenty of not so good days.
On this particular trip, we had high hopes to catch a mess of redfish for supper. Well, to make a long story short, we didn’t get a bite all morning.
I was aggravated and hot. When Colt asked me if he could sit in my lap and help me drive the boat back to the ramp, I nearly told him no. However, even though I was frustrated with our morning, I managed a yes. As the salty wind hit us in the face, Colt smiled from ear to ear as he helped to steer the boat back to the dock.
When he got out of the boat, he said, “Daddy this was the best fishing trip ever!”
I sat there thinking about his words for a moment and realized for him it’s not about the success, but it’s the adventure, the simple love of being on the water.
Riding home that day, I said to myself that I would never again measure the success of a fishing trip with my children based on the amount of fish we catch.
I told myself I would change my approach.
With that said, I still want to catch a pile like anyone else, nothing wrong with that at all, but I’ve learned the real reward is just being there on the water with your children. There’s nothing like watching them laugh and smile and grow up to love the outdoors just like I did.
We never have taken an iPad on a fishing trip, and we’re not going to start now. If we get bored, we ride the river and look for wildlife or anchor up in some shade and eat peanut butter and jelly sandwiches. If we get hot and tired, we’re liable to leave our fishing rods on the deck and be swimming with the fish we were just trying to catch.
We may not catch as many as some anglers, but we will smile as much as any. We’re there for the love of the game, and I don’t mean video game!