Sunday, March 8, 2009

Passing it On

Hudson has to pick up three pieces of garbage before he can fish, that is the rule. The idea isn't to turn my little man into a granola-crunch-tree-hugger, but to instill a sense of stewardship into his developing brain at an early age.

As contrary as it may seem, Hudson enjoy's looking for trash, and often fills a bag far past the required three items. Today, walking down stream, behind a shore-lined with anglers, Hudson and my wife removed fishing line, power-bait jars, and general debris from the shore. Although most the anglers we saw were quite green, I didn't see one person following my three-year-old's example.

After twenty minutes or so, Hudson stopped his mom and me, asking,

"Dad, why don't the other fisherman have to pick up garbage?" You could tell he was genuinely puzzled, too young yet to understand or question fair versus unfair.

I knelt down, nose to nose, put my hands on both his shoulders so I could look him square in the eyes and searched for anything wise or sage like to pass on to my son. Blank, I replied,

"Hudson, fishing for your and me, is different. It's special. We owe it to the fish and the other fisherman to make the river a better place."

"Why do we owe it to fisherman to pick up their garbage?" Responding immediately with complete sincerity.

Ugh, I thought, I'm really messing this up. Trying to cut him off at the pass, and not dig my hole any deeper I went on,

"Honey, all you can do is teach folks that they shouldn't leave their garbage on the ground, because it hurts the animals and fish. That is why you and I pick up their trash before we an fish."

That seemed to answer his questions for the moment. Looking up at me, and then back down at his bag, I knew what time it was.

Sensing his anticipation I suggested,"Let's fish."

His eyes lit up and I thought,

"Yeah, he's my son."

Hudson above, pointing out fish. He loves the rise.

After thirty minutes of casting and not catching, Hudson did something uncharacteristic. He lay down his rod, and picked up his bag.

"Dad there sure are a lot of fisherman out here, I should pick up some more of their garbage. I don't want their dad's not to take them fishing, next time."


Hoss said...

Thanks for the reminder to always clean the waters we share. I have a 6 year old and have just started to take him fishing and after that post I am going to adopt your rule. thanks.

Anonymous said...

I love how you include your son into so many of your fishing trips. I feel like it's so important for parents to step up and shop their youth the way towards the finer things fly fishing has to offer. There are so many other things he could be doing, video games, computers, cartoons etc etc etc. Its great that he enjoys going fishin'. good work on the garbage clean up too, sounds like his father is on top of his game!