Fishing & Friendship

Having grown up on the coast, and having an avid fisherman as a father, I began fishing at an early age, (even succeeding at times, as you might recall). I found and still find fishing to be awesome. It’s a great way to take it easy, reflect, spend time with friends/family, relax, and get some sun. On one particularly memorable day of nannying I took Mr. Man and Big Cat fishing at Town Lake, picking up their grandpa on the way to add some family fun to our idyllic day. The boys were so excited, not catching anything, but just enjoying being out on the dock, lines in the lake, finding fishing to be fun!

At many different times in my life, I have found the link between fishing and larger life lessons. When I have pondered these, no connection has felt more accurate than the similarity between fishing and friendship. Being a good fisherperson requires patience, dedication, compromise, enjoyment, (acknowledging the )possibility of failure, optimism, and effort. The same could be listed when cataloging qualities of a good friend. There are many ways to make friends, just as there are many ways to catch fish. The methods which most come to mind are: those who cast a net, and who cast a line.
People who cast a net of friendship open themselves up more, are more giving of themselves immediately, hoping to scoop up as many fish/friends as possible. I am definitely a net fisher when it comes to friendship. Everyone I meet is a potential friend, or a friend immediately and my life is an open book,(well in this case, blog) I’m always willing to put myself out there and meet new people. When I was in PreK I was friends with literally everyone in my class. I’ve always been very gregarious, willing and able to make new pals. Two of my favorites in PreK were a little girl Rosie who spoke little to no English, and another little girl Daisy who was mentally impaired. The fact that both these little girls were “different” in some way never occurred to me, I was just there to teach Rosie some new words and push Daisy on the swing. (I remember making sure she always held onto the swing chains, not wanting her to fall out. A born nanny!) My folks found my choice of friends unique but were in no way surprised, they had raised me to be blind to the all too often perceived differences between people, and they loved that I was spreading my wings and flying on the wind of friendship. I’ve learned the hard way, through friends who have proved untrustworthy, that when one casts a wide net of friendship he/she will inevitably haul in some people of less than desirable dimensions. When friends haven’t measured up as keepers, I’ve had the unpleasant task of throwing them back in the sea. Still others will slip through the net; I’ve had friends I’ve tried to keep in touch with who just haven’t reciprocated, and at some point, I had to be willing to let them go. Being a net fisherwoman is not all defeat. On the contrary, the upside of net fishing for friends is that for every faulty friend, there are one hundred perfect pals who are keepers for sure and worthy of wall mounts.

Line fishing is when you let the fish/friends come to you. This takes patience and a much more discerning attitude toward whom one befriends. Line fishing usually results in a smaller group of true friends, often lasting a lifetime. When you are patient, the right friends come to you, and the odds of them being keepers is much greater. The only downside to line fishing is that by not putting yourself out there as a net fisher does, many potentially good fish/friends may pass you by; though usually any line fisher is concerned less with quantity of catch, but more excited to reel in a few keepers. The thrill of watching the bobber being pulled under water by the bite of a new buddy, is well worth the wait.

I look to see who among the kiddos are net fishers and line fishers. It’s a pretty easy distinction to make, and whatever their preference I encourage them to fish for friends often, whatever their style. I always inquire about who their pals are at school/activities, and the answers range from, “My best friend is {lucky child},” to “I like everyone in my class the same, and they all like me!” All answers are awesome and it makes my heart swell to hear about the kiddos making friends. I know how blessed I have been in my own life, I’m happy to have plenty of pals, and I never have too many. After all, there are so many fish in the sea!

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