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Marriage and Family

Fishing for a Lesson

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10/01/2010 - Earlier this summer, my wife and I took a fishing trip to Pathfinder with my dad and my uncle. I grew up fishing with my dad and got to a point where I was fairly serious. I collected different lures. I had, and still do have, a couple different rods I use for different fishing situations. I fished for rainbow trout, catfish and walleye. I have fished in rivers, reservoirs, streams and mountain lakes. I have fly fished, fished with spinners and lures, jigged and trolled off the end of a boat. I have taken on an attitude where I hate using bait such as worms or marshmallows. In contrast, my wife didn't fish growing up and, I believe, this is her second summer of going fishing. I feel like I know how to fish and have taken on the roll of teaching my wife.

On this particular fishing trip, fishing was slow and we were trolling off the back of the boat. I let my wife use a Rapala, a lure which looks much like a minnow, with which I had prior success on that lake. She decided to stick a worm on the end of the lure. I bit my tongue feeling that she would have no success with that. I felt that the worm would kill the action of the lure and attract no fish. I decided not to say anything because the fishing was slow and thought "what could it hurt?" Guess who caught the largest fish on that day. Her fish was not just the largest fish on a slow day, but is, to this point, still the largest fish we have caught all summer.

What hit me at that moment (when we netted the fish and were admiring its size) is how easy it is to become rigid and unmoving within the knowledge we think we have. If we feel we have some expertise in an area, we easily shut out ideas that don't line up with our understanding and can use this "knowledge" to attempt to control our loved ones. How often do we become upset at family members when they don't heed our advice in areas of our own knowledge? For example, had the fishing been hot that day, I may have tried to "advise" my wife not to use the worm knowing that she would miss out on her opportunity for a large catch.

I hope this can be a lesson to many of us, not just myself, that we can allow our loved ones to make attempts at things that may expose them to failure. This does not mean we sit idly by while they walk into a physical danger. However, if our loved ones make an attempt at something that seems "wrong" compared to how we do it, let's let them try. Who knows, not only may they learn something, but we may also learn that we don't know as much as we think we do.

On a side note, this summer my wife has largely out-fished me, not only in size but also in number. On a second side note, though my dad hates to admit it, my mom has done the same thing to him.

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