I’ve heard people say, “I was the one who was hooked when I caught my first fish.” I can’t say that was the case with me. Dad took me fishing for years and I caught my share of hand-size perch and minnows and could bait my own hook, but the love of fishing was no where on my radar. It was kind of like tasting something everyone assures you is heavenly, but it only leaves you smacking your lips real fast to figure out what’s so good about it.

The summer I was 16 Dad chartered a boat and took the family deep sea fishing. After a quick lesson from the first mate, the captain took us out to the deep waters. Everyone was catching fish except me, but being strictly a social fisher, I was more interested in the Dr. Pepper and the cute deck hand.

Then it happened. Something hit my line so hard it pulled me out of my seat onto the deck. I did the social fisher person thing and screamed like a girl then jumped to my feet hanging on for all I was worth. Everyone was shouting instructions and the cute deck hand put a big leather belt around me that tethered me to the boat. I was sure I had hooked a whale and no one had the guts to tell me.

The hour I fought the fish with gritted teeth, the men all offered to reel in whatever it was on my hook, but there was no way that was going to happen. “Just tell me what to do,” I would tell them. “I can do this.” And I did. My whale was a 36 pound King Mackerel. That didn’t even flip my switch for fishing. Maybe if there had some stylish fishing clothes involved it would have been different.

I thought about my big fish the other day when a woman said, “Don’t you think parents do too much for their children these days?”

“Maybe so.” I answered. “Because sometimes it’s just easier, I suppose, and if you think about it, that’s just selfish on the parents part.”

Some of the most important things I’ve ever learned, I figured out on my own. Sometimes it’s best to not tell someone how to do something, but what needs to be done. Then step back and see how creative he or she can be.

Like the “Give a man a fish,” quote that’s not in the Bible but sounds so spiritual, kids learn to reel in the big one on their own when given a chance.

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