Kids + Fish = Fun

I’m on vacation this week and one thing I’ve sure noticed that hasn’t changed over time is how catching fish brings out the pure excitement in kids. In most cases, the species of fish doesn’t really matter…it’s merely the act of “catching something” that garners the raw thrill. And that’s how it should be.

On the other hand, I’m also struck by the utter frustration kids develop when the fishing action is slow. When instant gratification isn’t achieved, today’s younger set wants to “throw in the proverbial towel” way too quickly and opt for some other opportunity. Oh how things have changed since I was a kid.

Back 40 years ago resorts didn’t have game rooms filled with electronic video games luring young minds with a pocket full of quarters. They didn’t have fancy inflatable water toys tempting children to just spend the day splashing around in the lake. I truly don’t recall fancy playground equipment costing tens of thousands of dollars. Nope, I don’t remember any of that at a Minnesota fishing resort back in the 1960s & 1970s.

No, when I was a kid most resorts lacked the fancy amenities I just described. In fact, when the family went to the lake it was mostly about the fishing–nothing else. As a kid your choices were rather simple…you either stayed back at the cabin with mom and all your aunts, or you went fishing with dad and your uncles. The choice was usually rather obvious.

Am I lamenting about my lack of having fun opportunities when I was a kid? Heavens no. I totally accept how today’s vacation resort must cater to families beyond the fishing set alone. It’s all about marketing and diversifying to cater to all interests.

Nope, what concerns me instead is just how easy it is for today’s children to give up on fishing by opting for some other type of fun. Honestly, I truly believe parents in the 21st Century are faced with far greater challenges than ever before when trying to raise children by attempting to develop a passion for sports like fishing and hunting.

As parents, I believe its prudent on all of us to recognize how the joy brought to a child by catching a fish is not the same excitement achieved by winning some video game. It’s certainly not the same kind of smile a kid gets from splashing in the lake or from using playground equipment.

Indeed, a smile that graces a young child’s face from catching a fish is a smile resulting from pride and achievement. It’s the same sort of smile that kid will again experience 50 years later in life enjoying the very same activity.

If our beloved sports of fishing and hunting are going to get passed on to future generations, as parents we need to create more smiles. And I’m talking about the right KIND of smiles.

©2010 Jim Braaten.  All Rights Reserved.  No Reproduction without Prior Permission.