John F. Russell: Gone fishin'


There should be a law that parents have to go fishing with their children at least once a summer.

Far from bad reality TV, the fast-paced action of video games and all the other distractions that come along with modern life, the past couple of summers I've discovered that there are very few things in life more rewarding than hanging out with your children on a fishing trip.

The goal of these trips should not be to catch fish but to share an adventure with you children.

It's about taking the time to walk along the shore of a mountain lake looking for the perfect skipping rock or to go hiking in a place where the only forms of stimulation are the streams, the air and the birds.

I still remember the look on my son's face the first time I hooked a big fish and tossed the pole to him so he could finish reeling it in.

We jumped up and down on the banks like a wide receiver celebrating a touchdown, despite the fish somehow wiggling off the hook just as we got it out of the water. It rolled down the bank and swam away before we got the chance to see how big it was.

I didn't care that the fish got away, but I did regret that I didn't have a chance to take a photo of the smile on my son's face as he battled the fish.

I'm lucky.

I get to spend a lot of quality time with my children. In the summer, I go to his soccer games, and in the winter, we go skiing every week.

I get to go to my daughter's dance rehearsals and day-care programs, and when she gets a little older, I'm sure she will be skiing, as well.

These things are all important parts of my children's lives, but nothing really compares to going fishing.

Not because it's relaxing, because anyone who's ever gone fishing with a 7-year-old knows it's about as relaxing as going to the dentist for a root canal.

My son's attention span is about as long as summer in Antarctica, and my patience lasts about as long as a gallon of gas in the original Hummer.

Together, the two things add up to a recipe for disaster.

Especially when he rather would be playing with his Gameboy and I'm trying to convince him that if he leaves his fishing line in the water for more than 30 seconds he would have a better chance of catching a fish.

But none of that seems to matter in the bigger picture. I'm sure I drove my father crazy when I was a child, but every summer we spent several weekends at the family cabin fishing.

I can only wonder why my dad wanted to spend the weekend fishing with me when I was younger.

But most every weekend he would pack up the car, drive2 1/2 hours away from television, work and the other things that distract from the really important things in life.

Looking back now, I understand that the point of the trip had nothing to do with catching fish but more to do with creating memories.

That's why it should be a law to go fishing with your children at least once every summer.


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