Patience, enormous patience. No exceptions. Intellectually you know this. Cause and affect. I have three sons. Wonderful young men. But, at times I have done my best to undermine their self-esteem and trust. The only explanation, that is the bedrock of a poor explanation, is that I was self absorbed and consequently too selfish to truly focus on the little person beside me. Yes, I expended just enough energy to set them up with a rig, but of course as happens, they ran afoul of snags, line twist, loops, tangles and branches. My response was impatience to what should have been the clearly inevitable result of turning ones back on a little guy. In time, they improved but there was an edge to them. What edge? A nervous edge. An edge from fear of disappointing me or worse angering me. Did I hit them? No. But, you don’t have to. A look, a tone, body language, spoken words do the deed. Several embarrassing events took place over time that I am truly ashamed to recount. Too embarrassing and paint me for what I was: selfish. These lessons in cause and affect spill over into their future life….don’t ever doubt it.
Thank God…no dancing around it…thank God I woke up. I love my sons and have reflected upon how easily we can influence them for better or worse. I write this to tweak someone, anyone, who is so self absorbed or possibly self aware enough to know they have done harm…fix it! It won’t happen right away. But, it can happen and a few, ‘I love you’s’ and hugs will go a long way to repair the strains and set you upon a good course. The progression I used aside from showing patience and love was as follows: shore side folding chairs, treats, small rods and reels, power bait, casting for them and letting them reel in the catch, making it all about them, keeping it relaxed, pictures of them. Then later, teaching them to cast spinning reels and casting bubbles with a short leader and fly. Slowly reeling and hooking fish. Developing confidence in a fly (Renegade, Elk Hair Caddis, Adams). This took 3-4 years. When I fished, I fished alone. I spent time with them and then only focused upon them. Only several years later did I place a fly rod in their hands and by now I was much more patient. All my sons are excellent flyfishers. I don’t take credit for some great success. I only constantly reflect upon how easily we affect our children. With all the other negative influences out there that wage war on your child’s development, don’t be anything but a positive bulwark against those negative influences.
Fathter and son. Fishing partner and friend. It is there for a brief time. Maybe longer if lucky. Reflect upon how special it is. Of course, this equally applies to our little girls…our daughters too. But most prominently our sons are our canvas. How will your son treat his son, daughter, girlfriend or wife? Patience, enormous patience.