There's no better way to have fun together as a family than fishing together. Make it a point to take your kid fishing this season.
As a new father, I can't wait to take my daughter fishing. On another level, as a public school teacher, I see the opportunity for fishing to teach kids meaningful lessons about life and the world around them. Make it a point to take your kids fishing this summer.
Here are some great lessons for your kid to learn, if you take them fishing.
I was an impatient kid and perhaps turned into an impatient adult. My mother used to always say, "Patience is a virtue," but I never knew what she meant. My mother probably said that sentence to me a thousand times, but it was the water that spoke to me. The trout stream taught me that I couldn't rush a bite. Sometimes, kids need an authentic experience of their own to make a lesson last.
2. A Love for the Outdoors
My 18-month old daughter is already obsessed with the iPad. Kids get immediate gratification from the abundance of technology that is very much a part of their world. I think it is extremely important to purposefully plan time for them to experience the majesty of Mother Nature. If we don't show them, who will?
Fishing is a practice in problem solving. Sometimes, the only way to be successful is to be innovative. Also, the water is always changing, which offers excellent opportunities for kids to be creative in a rewarding setting. If your son or daughter can start to see the water as a game or a puzzle to be solved, chances are they will become hooked.
4. The Satisfaction of Hard Work
Even as an adult angler, there's nothing more satisfying than working for a fish. On those lucky days where the fish are biting on every other cast, it's a blast. However, when you put in the planning, time, and patience to land your catch, it means something else all together. Some kids don't understand the value of working hard in school, but they have a ton of potential. Fishing is a great way to help a talented kid understand why it is important to see a job through until the end and to never give up on anything.
5. Provide for Their Family
I remember the first time that the trout that I caught were being served for dinner. It was such a sense of accomplishment for an adolescent. On that day, as a child, I felt validated in a very unique way. I learned that I could use this sport to not only have fun, but to bring the family together. Taking a kid fishing and helping them provide for the family is an invaluable lesson.
Looking back on learning how to fish, I think the best thing that my dad and grandfather did for me was to leave me alone on the water. After they had spent a few seasons re-tying hooks and showing me where to cast, they started to set me up at a hole and walk down stream. If I snagged my bait, I had to fix the problem. Once I caught the fish, I had to put it in my creel or on the stringer. I became responsible through accountability.
Yes, it is! Fishing, first and foremost, can be a ton of fun. Even as a 33-year-old, every time I hook a fish, I feel like that kid on the stream again. There's nothing like sharing that moment with someone you love. Even if the kid decides not to fish as an adult, they'll never forget the time spent with their family on the water. Taking your kid fishing is a recipe for fun to happen.
8. Make a Lasting Bond
I can't wait to take my nephews and daughter fishing this summer. Fishing is an easy way to get the family together and have a good time. Here is some great advice on how to keep young kids interested in the sport: Take them bluegill fishing in the summer, or at a spot that you know you can catch a fish. Catch one or two and then leave the body of water. Make sure that you have something like a BBQ or a gathering planned and say that you have to leave to get to that. This way, the kids have the excitement of catching a fish, hopefully they don't exhaust their patience, and then they can't wait to get back. Plus, you'll be heading to something positive after you leave the water.
Once the seed is planted, fishing with them will be something to always look forward to doing together.
9. Share Your Passion
As a teacher, I find that I earn the most attention from students when I tell a story about myself or my family, as opposed to the planned lesson for the day. Kids are interested in what we do in our daily lives. If my grandfather and dad didn't share their passion for fishing with me, then I wouldn't be sharing my love for fishing and looking forward to hitting the water as soon as possible. When we share our passions with kids and show them the way, there is an increased possibility that the experience will be positive. If kids see you having fun doing something, then they will want to as well.
10. Importance of Conservation
You don't know what you have until it is gone. I think one of the most important concepts that can be cultivated through fishing is that the earth needs to be taken care of in order to preserve its beauty. Teaching a kid to fish allows them to commune with the elements. Once they have had fun and success on and around the water, there is a greater chance that they won't litter or be wasteful, and that they will become active in protecting the environment.
Make it a point to take your kid fishing this year. Even try to take their friends, if you can. It will build memories that last a lifetime and teach lessons that can only be learned on the water.